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Wagner boss claims over 5,000 Russian prisoners freed after fighting in Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 25, 2023 11:51 PM 1 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

Head of Russian state-backed Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed on March 25 that more than 5,000 Russian prisoners who fought in Ukraine were offered amnesty.

Prigozhin's claim comes half a year after a video of an unnamed man resembling the Wagner leader circulated online, capturing how he offered prisoners to fight in Ukraine would be pardoned.

Reuters said in its January investigation that Prigozhin motivated prisoners, including contract killers, murderers, career criminals, and people with alcohol issues, by promising they would be free if they survived half a year on the Ukraine front. Ukraine and international observers have reported extremely heavy casualties among the Russian forces, including the Wagner members in Donetsk Oblast.

While Wagner appears to have led Russia's brutal offensive on the salt-mining town of Soledar, which led to its capture in January, tensions continue to build up between the infamous mercenary group and the Russian Defense Ministry.

For reasons unknown, Prigozhin claimed on Feb. 9 that the Wagner had “completely stopped” recruiting prisoners to fight alongside Russian forces in Ukraine. The current intensity of Wagner's prisoner recruitment remains unclear.

Russia’s key attack force, Wagner Group, embroiled in conflict with regular army
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