Wagner Group troops have been reduced to becoming the disposable infantry of the Russian operation in eastern Ukraine, but a document from the Ukrainian military intelligence service that CNN was able to collect details on their effectiveness and fighting prowess around Bakhmut.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch who has been prominently featured on the front lines in recent weeks and who is constantly eager to take credit for Russian advancements, is the owner of Wagner, a private military contractor. The capture of Soledar, a town located a few miles northeast of Bakhmut, as well as the surrounding areas, has largely involved Wagner fighters.

Wagner poses a distinctive threat at close range, according to the Ukrainian assessment, which is dated December 2022, despite incurring tremendous losses. The paper claims that Russian society does not care about the deaths of thousands of Wagner soldiers.

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“Assault groups don’t leave without being told to… Execution on the spot is the penalty for a team’s unauthorized departure or leaving without being hurt.

Phone intercepts gathered by a Ukrainian intelligence source and provided to CNN further support the notion of a ruthless approach to combat. In one, a soldier can be heard discussing another who attempted to turn himself in to the Ukrainians.

The soldier claims, “The Wagnerians caught him and cut his f**king balls out.”

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The call, allegedly made in November, cannot be independently verified by CNN.

Wagner was likely “the most experienced army in the world today,” according to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s statement from last week.
Wagner was likely “the most experienced army in the world today,” according to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s statement from last week.
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According to the Ukrainian assessment, wounded Wagner combatants are frequently abandoned on the field of battle for hours. Since their primary duty is to carry out the attack until the objective is attained, assault troops are not permitted to remove the injured from the battlefield by themselves. Only at night is retreat permitted if the assault fails.

Wagner’s methods, according to the Ukrainian research, “are the only ones that are effective for the poorly trained mobilized troops that constitute the majority of Russian ground forces,” notwithstanding Prigozhin’s callous disregard for deaths.

The passage reads: “Assault units are proposed in place of the traditional battalion tactical groupings of the Russian Armed Forces, suggesting that the Russian Army may even be altering its tactics to become more like Wagner.”

That would represent a substantial departure from the Russians’ usual emphasis on bigger, mechanized formations.

According to phone intercepts by Ukrainian intelligence, some mobilized troops are considering transferring to Wagner. One such intercept features a soldier saying, “It’s f**king heaven and earth,” in comparison to his unit and Wagner. Therefore, I had better f**king serve there if I was going to do so.

Wagner’s method of warfare

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According to the Ukrainian investigation, Wagner uses rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and deploys its troops in mobile units of 12 or fewer, taking advantage of real-time drone intelligence, which the report identifies as the “essential ingredient.”

According to the dossier, the Wagner soldiers are also equipped with Motorola communications equipment.

Motorola confirmed to CNN that it has stopped all sales to Russia and shut down its businesses there.

Tens of thousands of convicts, who Wagner has recruited, typically form the opening wave of an attack and sustain the greatest losses, up to 80%, according to Ukrainian officials.

Fighters with more training and night vision and thermal imaging equipment follow.

For the Ukrainians, their own drone information is essential to preventing grenade strikes from destroying their fortifications. According to the paper, a drone’s detection of an approaching Wagner force in December allowed Ukrainian defenders to defeat it before its soldiers could fire RPGs.

Pictured on April 28, 2022, after Moscow cut off supply, is a compressor station of the JAGAL pipeline, the German expansion of the Yamal-Europe pipeline that connects Russia and Germany via Poland.
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Wagner forces can dig foxholes and maintain their gains if they are successful in capturing a position, but they are extremely vulnerable to attack in exposed terrain. Again, according to Ukrainian intercepts, there is frequently a lack of coordination between Wagner and the Russian military. One intercepted communication, which, once more, cannot be verified, contained a soldier telling his father that his squad had unintentionally destroyed a Wagner vehicle.

The town of Soledar and surrounding communities were taken by Prigozhin’s fighters last week, marking the first military successes for Russia in months. He asserted that only Wagner PMC agents were involved in the storming of Soledar.

Prigozhin uses Wagner’s performance as a means of obtaining more funding and as a weapon in his ongoing conflict with the Russian military system, which he constantly decries as corrupt and incompetent.

Russian military chief of staff Valery Gerasimov reportedly instructed soldiers to be better dressed, according to UK intelligence. “War is the period of the active and daring, not the clean-shaven,” Prigozhin retorted.

the St. Petersburg PMC Wagner Center.
the St. Petersburg PMC Wagner Center.
AP, Maksim Konstantinov, SOPA Images,
The UK Defense Ministry commented on the new Gerasimov regulations on Monday, saying: “The Russian force continues to experience operational stalemate and severe casualties; Gerasimov’s prioritization of essentially minor regulations is likely to confirm the suspicions of his many skeptics in Russia.”

In the midst of growing criticism over its stalled progress, Gerasimov was chosen as the overall commander of Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine earlier this month.

Wagner will need more funding as long as the Russian defense ministry falls short. Prigozhin will then demand this.

The gang also seems to be able to obtain firearms through other channels. Last week, US officials said that Wagner had purchased weapons from North Korea. According to National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, North Korea sent infantry rockets and missiles to Russia last month for deployment by Wagner.

a fresh Rasputin?

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There is no lack of ambition in Prigozhin. He stated that Wagner was likely “the most experienced army in the world today” as he stood in Soledar last week.

He asserted that the army’s soldiers already possessed artillery, air defenses, and multiple launch rocket launchers.

Wagner and the top-down rigidity of the Russian military were also subtly contrasted by Prigozhin, who stated that “everyone who is on the ground is listened to.” The leadership of PMCs (private military companies) consults with the commanders as well as the warriors.

On November 4, 2022, National Unity Day in Saint Petersburg, this aerial picture depicts the “PMC Wagner Center,” a building connected to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the man who founded the Wagner private military company (PMC). The Wagner PMC has advanced and will continue to advance because the US has designated the Wagner mercenary group as a “transnational criminal enterprise.”

Two months ago, senior fellow Andrei Kolesnikov at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace compared Prigozhin’s rising power to Grigori Rasputin’s at Tsar Nicholas II’s court. According to him, Putin must have military effectiveness at any costs.

In a way, [Prigozhin’s] charm can compete with Putin’s because it is nasty and wicked. Putin now needs him in this position and configuration.

The resemblance to Rasputin, a mystic figure who treated the Tsar’s son for hemophilia, the bleeding illness, seems to have piqued Prigozhin’s interest. But he added his own customary spin on it in remarks this past weekend that were released by his firm Concord.

Sadly, I cannot stop the flow of blood. I bleed for those who oppose our motherland. And not by spells, but rather by making eye contact with them.

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