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Russian Defense Ministry: Wagner hands over 2,000 military equipment pieces

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 12, 2023 9:58 PM 2 min read
Wagner Group mercenaries sit atop a tank in a street in the city of Rostov-on-Don, 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 by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Wagner Group is completing the transfer of over 2,000 pieces of military equipment to the Russian Defense Ministry according to the official statement from July 12.

This is said to include hundreds of heavy weapons, such as T-90, T-80, and T72B3 tanks, Grad and Uragan multiple-launch rocket systems, and Pantsir anti-aircraft systems, based on the official information.

The private military company also reportedly handed over numerous artillery pieces, including 122mm Gvozdika, 152mm Acacia, 152mm Hyacinth, and 240mm Tulip systems, howitzers, mortars, as well as anti-tank weapons and various vehicles.

The transfer further included 2,500 tons of ammunition and 20,000 pieces of small arms, the ministry informed.

According to Russian officials, dozens of the pieces in question have never been used in combat.

"All equipment and weapons are delivered to the rear, where the repair and restoration units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation carry out maintenance and preparation for their intended use," the ministry wrote on Telegram.

The Wagner Group's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin launched a "march for justice" against Russian military leaders on June 23 after the Russian army allegedly targeted Wagner troops in Ukraine. His mercenaries occupied Rostov and marched 200 kilometers to Moscow, only to abruptly end the rebellion less than 24 hours after its start.

As a result of an undisclosed agreement allegedly mediated by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, Prigozhin and his contractors were allowed to leave for Belarus to avoid persecution. The Belarusian dictator however said on July 10 that Prigozhin is back in Russia after a brief stay in Belarus.

It is yet unclear what will be the fate of the Wagner Group in Russia. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said that the military contractors can either sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry or leave for Belarus while Wagner recruitment centers have announced a suspension of activities.

Analysts from the Institute for the Study of War noted that the status of the Wagner deal remains unclear as the fighters who participated in the rebellion retained their freedom but are unlikely to be deployed to Ukraine in the near future.

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Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko urges Belarusians to “calm down” after the presumed arrival of Wagner Group mercenaries following their day-long insurrection in Russia. Rumors continue circulating about whether camps to house Wagner troops are under construction. Lukashenko claims that th…
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