Wagner Group Leader Releases Horrific Photo of Dead Soldiers, Blames Russian Military
Who is the Wagner Group and what is its relationship to the Russian army?
Who are the Wagner Group, mercenaries in Russia?
Because of their involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, The Wagner Group has attracted attention.
The organization was established in 2014, and one of its first operations is believed to have taken place in Crimea, Ukraine, the same year, where mercenaries wearing plain clothes assisted rebel troops backed by Russia in seizing control of the region.
Moscow first utilized the mercenaries to bolster frontline soldiers after Russia's formal invasion of Ukraine but has come to rely on them more and more in pivotal engagements, such as those around the cities of Bakhmut and Soledar. The firm, its owner, and most of its commanders have all received sanctions from the US, the UK, and the EU.
Who is a member of the Wagner Group?
The Wagner private military firm, which was made up of a few thousand mercenaries, existed long before the war in Ukraine broke out. The majority of these were said to be highly trained former elite military. But, as Russia's casualties in the Ukrainian war mounted, the company's owner, Kremlin-connected businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, sought to expand the organization by enlisting Russian convicts and civilians, as well as foreigners.
In a video circulating online from September 2022, Prigozhin is shown in a Russian prison courtyard addressing a mob of criminals, promising that their sentences will be shortened if they served in Ukraine for six months.
It is currently believed that the Wagner Group has 20,000 fighters fighting in Ukraine.
Despite its expanded involvement in the battle, the Wagner Group's performance is unclear, with commentators claiming the force lost a high number of deaths while making little progress.
According to the Russian constitution, the founding of private military firms is forbidden because the duty for security and defense rests entirely with the state. The Russian Criminal Code forbids civilians from working as mercenaries, although state-owned enterprises are permitted to maintain private armed security units. Those gaps in Russian legislation allow the Wagner Group to operate in a legal limbo.
For example, the Wagner Group has worked in Africa, providing support and security for Russian mining corporations and other customers. Russia has been accused of utilizing the organisation to obtain control of African natural resources, as well as to influence politics and wars in countries such as Libya, Sudan, Mali, and Madagascar.
Wagner Group militants were also spotted in Syria.
Russia is hardly the only country that has private military firms. Numerous other countries, like the United States, South Africa, Iraq, and Colombia, have private military corporations that operate both within and outside their borders. Several of these organizations keep a low profile. The International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations have expressed concern over the number of mercenaries and assassins throughout the world.
Wagner Group Commander Posts Dead Troops' Horrific Picture, Blames Russian Military
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, has made a surprising show of disloyalty to the Kremlin by publishing a graphic image of dead and injured soldiers and blaming the Russian military for not giving his mercenaries enough ammo. In an interview with a pro-war messaging channel, Prigozhin accused General Valery Gerasimov and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of failing to provide enough ammunition for the Wagner fighters, which led to their deaths.
Rows upon rows of bleeding bodies, which Prigozhin claims are the bodies of Wagner warriors who were murdered while seeking to retain Russia's sovereignty over Ukraine, can be seen in the terrible image he shared. He claims that no effort has been made to arm his mercenaries, which has resulted in their deaths. Prigozhin condemned the Wagner Group's lack of finance and the necessity of pleading with unit chiefs for assistance.
Many pro-war military bloggers who support the Kremlin are outraged by Prigozhin's charges and the gory images. Putin is attempting to sell the notion that everything is going according to plan and that the nation is unified, but the fury is growing and threatens to overwhelm his efforts.
Although Prigozhin is renowned for his critiques of the military elite, the Wagner Group is far from the only group of people who are outraged by the Russian military leadership. Other Kremlin go-betweens have advocated for the murder of Defense Minister Shoigu, General Gerasimov, and other key military leaders, including Igor Bezler.
The Wagner Group, well-known for its mercenary work in several wars throughout the world, has been connected to multiple examples of abuse of human rights, including the killing and torture of Syrian civilians. The group's alleged financier, Prigozhin, has allegedly been linked to involvement in the 2016 US presidential election. There may be significant repercussions for the conflict in Ukraine and the future of the Wagner Group as a result of the publication of this gruesome image and Prigozhin's claims against the Russian military.