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ISW: Russia’s special forces commander confirms Rosgvardia recruits former Wagner fighters into Chechen battalion

by Olena Goncharova October 29, 2023 5:51 AM 1 min read
A flag bearing the logo of private mercenary group Wagner flutters above a portrait of late head of Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin at a makeshist memorial in Moscow, on Aug. 27, 2023. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)
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Former Wagner Group mercenaries are joining Chechnya’s Akhmat battalion and heading to the war in Ukraine, Akhmat Battalion Commander Apti Alaudinov confirmed in an Oct. 28 interview, the Institute for the Study of War said in their latest report.

Alaudinov said that a “massive” number of Wagner soldiers have joined various detachments of the Akhmat forces and are operating in several unspecified sectors of the front in Ukraine.

Alaudinov claimed that former Wagner soldiers are following their former commanders to the Chechen Akhmat units. Alaudinov noted that Wagner fighters have “always spoken very respectfully about [‘Akhmat’],” likely in an attempt to stifle discussions of possible tension between the Wagner and Chechen forces after the feud between deceased Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin and Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov.

ISW continues to assess that former Wagner forces fragmented between the Russian Ministry of Defense and Rosgvardia Chechen units across various sectors of the front are unlikely to reemerge as an effective military organization. ISW believes that those fragmented forces "will lack the strength Wagner had drawn from being a unitary organization under clear and coherent leadership."

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