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Prigozhin claims Wagner Group to recruit 30,000 mercenaries by mid-May
Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that the Russian mercenary group intends to up its recruits by 30,000 by mid-May.
Prigozhin added that Wagner recruitment centers, which he said last week have opened in 42 cities across Russia, sign on 500-800 people per day.
He provided no evidence to back up his claims.
The Kremlin-controlled mercenary group has been assisting Russia’s military in trying to capture Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut for months as Moscow tries to consolidate its grip over the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, around half of which it currently controls.
However, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its assessment on March 16 that the Wagner Group's offensive on Bakhmut "appears to be nearing culmination."
“Since May last year, between 20-30,000 Wagner and regular Russian forces have been killed and wounded in the area around Bakhmut alone – a huge loss of human life for a total territorial advance of approximately just 25 kilometers,” U.K. military advisor Ian Stubbs noted on March 15.
On Feb. 6, the Ukrainian parliament recognized Wagner as an international criminal organization and called on foreign governments to do the same.
The U.S. Treasury Department designated Wagner Group mercenaries as a “significant transnational criminal organization” and imposed sanctions on its support network worldwide on Jan. 26.