Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the President’s Office, said on Jan. 15 that 77% of the Russian convicts recruited by the Wagner Group have been killed, injured, or captured by Ukrainian forces.
According to Podolyak, 38,244 Russian convicts have been recruited to fight in Ukraine, 29,543 of which have either been killed, captured, or injured by Ukrainian forces.
The U.K. Defense Ministry said on Dec. 19 that the Kremlin-controlled paramilitary organization is using a large number of poorly trained convicts it had recruited to fight against Ukraine.
Russia’s defense sector “highly likely” relies on convict labor to meet war-time production demands, the U.K Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence update on Jan. 13.
With a prison population reaching over 400,000 inmates due to one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world, Russia’s Federal Penal Service provides a “unique human resource” to Russian leaders to use when volunteers remain in short supply, according to the report.