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UK Defense Ministry: Russia likely to 'eventually' replace Wagner with other PMCs in Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 4, 2023 10:37 AM 2 min read
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Russia may partner with other private military contractors for combat in Ukraine amid ongoing tensions with the Wagner mercenary group, the U.K. Defense Ministry wrote in its April 4 intelligence update.

Wagner mercenaries make up a substantial portion of the Russian forces engaged in active combat zones, such as Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast. Wagner was involved in most of the few successful operations Russia had carried out in the past months, such as the capture of Soledar in Donetsk Oblast.  

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, the purpose of Russia fostering relationships with other private military contractors would be to increase control over fighters on the ground.

Prigozhin has publicly criticized Russia's Defense Ministry on numerous occasions for not providing "enough" ammo to his troops. Wagner mercenaries are also sustaining heavy losses on the battlefield.

No other private military contractor in Russia currently matches Wagner's level of combat experience or numbers.

Despite this, Russia will likely start to rely more on private military contractors given that they are "less constrained by the limited pay levels and inefficiency which hamper the effectiveness of the regular army."

Moreover, Russian society is less likely to be concerned over the high casualty rates of private military contractors, the U.K. Defense Ministry predicted.

Wagner notably recruited thousands of prisoners from Russian prisons to fight in Ukraine, promising them their freedom if they survived. On March 25, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the company's founder, claimed that 5,000 Russian prisoners who fought in Ukraine were already offered amnesty.

Russia’s key attack force, Wagner Group, embroiled in conflict with regular army
The battle for Bakhmut has revealed a decade-long covert conflict in Russia’s Armed Forces. On one side, there is the regular Russian military. On the other side, Wagner Group, Russia’s most high-profile mercenary outfit. Wagner was founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a confidante of Russian President V…
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