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Wagner Group claims it's halting recruitment 'indefinitely'

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 31, 2023 9:33 AM 2 min read
Joint training of Wagner fighters and Belarusian soldiers, Belarus, July 23, 2023. (Source: Belarusian Defense Ministry)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The Wagner Group claimed on July 30 that it had "indefinitely" suspended recruitment of new members as it possesses sufficiently "large personnel reserves."

"Due to the presence of large personnel reserves in the Wagner private military company (PMC), there is currently no need to recruit new members," the Wagner Group's press service wrote on its Telegram channel.

"The work of the regional recruitment centers of the Wagner PMC is suspended indefinitely."

The Wagner Group did not mention whether this decision extends to recruiting new members in Belarus where a significant number of the contractors are based at the moment.

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko allegedly helped broker a deal for Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and his troops to relocate to Belarus after their armed "rebellion" 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.

On July 20, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said that a four-day joint training was being held between Wagner and the Belarusian military in Brest Oblast near the Polish border.

As of July 22, Ukrainian authorities report that about 5,000 Wagner fighters have arrived in Belarus. The Ukrainian military's National Resistance Center said on July 27 that the group is recruiting new members in Belarus under the condition that they are ready "to participate in hostilities on the territory of the countries neighboring Belarus, in particular, 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."

National Resistance Center: Wagner recruiting fighters in Belarus on condition of readiness to fight in Poland, Lithuania
The Wagner Group paramilitary organization is continuing to recruit fighters in Belarus while training the Belarusian military, under the condition that the new recruits are ready “to participate in hostilities on the territory of the countries neighboring Belarus, in particular, Poland and Lithuani…
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