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British Intelligence: Wagner loses troops as group's convicts to be pardoned, released
Thousands of Russian convicts who were recruited by the Wagner mercenary group are likely to be released, the U.K. Defense Military reported in its March 21 update.
The convicts were recruited by the Russian-controlled private military contractor to join the war against Ukraine with the promise of being pardoned and released if they survived half a year on the front. Approximately half of the total convicts have been killed or wounded, the U.K. Defense Ministry writes.
However, the defense ministry believes that Wagner is following through on its promises to grant the survivors freedom.
According to the defense ministry, Wagner is "likely banned" by Russian authorities from taking on more prisoners in the future, after a recent public conflict between Wagner and Russia's Defense Ministry. The recruitment of prisoners reached its peak in the autumn of 2022.
With a large number of convicts reintegrating into Russian society, including those with a history of violent offenses, the U.K. Defense Ministry anticipates a "significant challenge" for Russian society in the future.