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Media: Wagner continues to recruit new fighters

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 3, 2023 1:11 AM 2 min read
Wagner Group mercenaries stand on the balcony of a building in Russia's Rostov on June 24, 2023. The mercenary group's founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed on June 24 that his forces control all military sites in the city. (Photo: Roman Romokhov/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Wagner Group continues to recruit new mercenaries, the independent Russian news outlet Important Stories reported on Aug. 2, citing their investigative research.

The unnamed journalist found Telegram channels where Wagner volunteers reported that the private military company plans to resume recruitment in August.

This is despite the group's own claim on July 30 that it had "indefinitely" suspended recruitment of new members as it possesses sufficiently "large personnel reserves."

As part of the investigation, the journalist posed as being interested in joining the group, and was told by a veteran representative in Novosibirsk that Wagner recruitment takes place on Fridays. The representative claimed that recruitment was only paused during the armed "rebellion" in June.

The veteran representative also told the journalist that he would only be recruited to join the group if he had a passport, as "the main direction of recruitment is African countries."

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko allegedly helped broker a deal for Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and his troops to relocate to Belarus after their uprising in late June stopped short of reaching Moscow.

While the details of the deal remain undisclosed, the group announced on July 2 that it had suspended recruitment of new members in Russia for a month. The Russian Defense Ministry said later that it had confiscated thousands of pieces of military equipment from Wagner, including tanks, armored vehicles, and other heavy hardware.

Minsk subsequently confirmed that Wagner fighters are present in Belarus to provide training support to the Belarusian military.

Ukraine's National Resistance Center reported on July 27 that the paramilitary organization is recruiting fighters in Belarus under the condition that they are ready to participate in hostilities in Poland and Lithuania.

The redeployment of Wagner mercenaries to Belarus has alarmed eastern members of NATO. The Polish military began to reinforce its eastern border, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned that the Wagner Group fighters could infiltrate Poland to conduct a "hybrid attack on Polish territory."

However, the White House said on Aug. 1 that the group poses no direct threat to NATO and that some Wagner fighters have moved to Africa in an attempt to "increase instability" in  countries there.

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