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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 29, 2023 Institute for the Study of War03:03
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30 Mar 21:26

About our Wagner Group news

Latest news on the Wagner Group, also known as PMC Wagner, a Russian paramilitary organisation that is variously described as a private military company, a network of mercenaries, or a de facto private army of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The group operates beyond the law because private military contractors are officially forbidden in Russia. While the Wagner Group itself is not ideologically driven, various elements of Wagner have been linked to neo-Nazis and far-right extremists. The group has been involved in conflicts around the world, including the war in Ukraine, the civil wars in Syria and Libya, and the conflict in the Central African Republic.

Wagner operatives have been accused of committing war crimes, including rapes and robberies of civilians and the torture of accused deserters. The group is believed to be owned or financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to Putin, and is often considered an arm's-length unit of the Russian Ministry of Defence or the military intelligence agency, the GRU. It is speculated that the Wagner Group is used by the Russian government to allow for plausible deniability in certain conflicts and to obscure the number of casualties and financial costs of Russia's foreign interventions.

In 2022, the group was tied to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where it was reportedly deployed to assassinate Ukrainian leaders and widely recruited and deployed prisoners and convicts to the frontlines. In December 2022, John Kirby of the Pentagon stated that the Wagner Group had a force of 50,000 fighters in Ukraine, including 10,000 contractors and 40,000 convicts.

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