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ISW: Russian Ministry of Defense recruits prisoners to fight in Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 15, 2023 8:26 AM 1 min read
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The Russian Ministry of Defense resorts to recruiting convicts as “cannon fodder” for its military offensives in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update on Feb. 14.

Citing intelligence from the Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate and a new CNN article, the report mentioned the convicts' deployment to Soledar, Donetsk Oblast in October 2022. The recruitment approach, which mimics Wagner mercenary group’s strategy, is an “indicator that the Kremlin seeks to exploit convicts for future human wave attacks,” according to the assessment. The report comes after Wagner Group claimed to have stopped recruiting prisoners for war against Ukraine.

The D.C.-based think tank's assessment also reported on the continued assaults around Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast by the Russian forces. According to the report, US defense planners expressed concern about the Ukrainian determination to hold Bakhmut, suggesting prioritizing the preparation for the spring counteroffensive instead. The Institute for the Study of War continues to assess that  "decision to defend Bakhmut is likely a strategically sound effort despite its costs for Ukraine," due to the significant costs incurred by Russian forces.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Kremlin-controlled Wagner Group, said the battle for Bakhmut was far from over due to “heavy resistance and grinding,” earlier on Feb. 14.

At the same time, the Russian military continued its offensive along the Svatove-Kreminna line and in Kupyansk direction, Kharkiv Oblast.

Ukraine war latest: Wagner boss says Russia won't capture Bakhmut soon, West says no planes for now
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