Russia's purported private military company Redut is actively recruiting mercenaries under the guise of "volunteers," including former Wagner militants, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Oct. 16.
The process is likely supervised and financed by the Russian military intelligence agency (GRU), the ministry wrote in its latest intelligence update.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently instructed Andrei Troshev, the former chief of staff of the mercenary Wagner Group, to form "volunteer units" for the war in Ukraine.
According to Putin's spokesperson, Troshev currently works in the Russian Defense Ministry.
The practice of recruiting mercenaries through so-called volunteer units has possibly "contributed to Russia avoiding further unpopular mobilizations," reads the intelligence update.
Redut is one of a number of mercenary groups and Volunteer Corps units the Russian Defense Ministry has used to strengthen its regular forces, the U.K. Defense Ministry explained.
Likely consisting of over 7,000 personnel, Redut has participated in combat operations in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Luhansk oblasts since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
According to a Sept. 29 U.K. Defense Ministry report, up to hundreds of former Wagner fighters have returned to Ukraine's front lines, likely transferring to parts of the official Russian Defense Ministry forces and other mercenary groups.
The development followed the death of former Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, who launched a short-lived rebellion against the Kremlin in July.
Wagner forces were a crucial component in the Russian invasion forces. They were primarily responsible for capturing the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast in May after a protracted siege.