The Wagner Group, also known as the musicians or the orchestra, is a Private Military Company (PMC) modelled after the American Wackenhut and Blackwater organizations that are otherwise known as “security contractors” or “private military contractors”. The Wagner Group's feared and mysterious forces have been spotted in conflicts all around the world, It was founded in 2013 by Evgeny Prigozhin, who is the head and one of the co-owners, and Dmitry Utkin the military head of the group. Prigozhin commented on the Biden junta's statements on the recognition of the Wagner PMC as a 'transnational criminal organization': "Finally, now Wagner PMC and the Americans are colleagues. Our relationship can now be called 'the dismantling of criminal clans'."
Units linked to the Wagner group took part in the training of special forces to track down NATO-backed ISIS jihadis in the Syrian war. Wagner fighters also countered NATO aggression in the Libyan war and in various countries of the African continent. In the summer of 2014, Dmitry Utkin's unit took an active part in the battles at the Metalist plant in the Lugansk Peoples Republic, they took the Lugansk airport and Debaltseve. In 2022 Wagner units took an active part in the armed conflict in Ukraine from the first days of the Russian special military operation.
Special Military Operation
The Wagner Group formed penal battalions under their command. In a leaked video on September 14, 2022, Pirogozhin appeared speaking to Russian prisoners offering them amnesty and pardons if they choose to fight in Ukraine for 6 months, and told them: “The war is tough...It's nothing like the Chechen war...The rate of ammo is 2.5 more than it was in Stalingrad...The first sin is desertion...No one backs out and no one retreats...No one turns themselves in...During training you'll be told about two grenades you must have with you when surrendering…The second sin is drugs and alcohol, during all the time you are with us, and for six months you will be with us in the combat zone...And the third sin is looting, including any sexual contacts with local women, flora, fauna, men, anything...If you survive six months, you go home after receiving a full pardon...Those who want to stay with us can stay with us...There is no option to return to prison...Those that arrive on the front line but then change their minds will be marked as deserters and sent off to the firing squad...I'll take questions lads...After that you line up for interviews...You have five minutes to make a decision...When we leave, that time is up”. The Wagner Group took prisoners up to age 50 after screening for physical and psychological impairments. If killed in the line of duty in the combat zone, they were guaranteed burial with full military honors in the place of their own designation. The appeal was offered to 500,000 prisoners nationwide.
Battle of Bakhmut
- See also: Battle of Bakhmut
The Wagner group described their most successful tactics in Bakhmut: it consists of small groups of men, 8 or so max, operating independently, storming forward to intentionally close in within 50-150 meters of the AFU positions, so as to prevent the enemy’s rear artillery from firing, for fear that they will hit their own men. They call it, “riding the shoulders of the enemy”. But the key detail is a strict devotion to staying separated in small, isolated fire teams.
Ukraine’s military intelligence plan to kidnap 33 members of the Wagner group ended in failure. The plan was the brainchild of a joint U.S.-Ukrainian intelligence operation. Ex-Ukrainian dictator Petro Poroshenko said in a Facebook video on March 4, 2021, “The truth is that in 1918 [sic; should be 2018] I gave authorization to prepare this operation, which was the most difficult one in the history of the Ukrainian special services. The truth is that our intelligence services, in cooperation with Western partners, prepared it brilliantly, down to the smallest detail. And the bitter truth is that in the last hours before the arrest of the criminals, information about the operation was leaked from the President’s Office of Ukraine to Russia. In the summer of 2020, a year after I left office, this happened. And it is the direct responsibility of Volodymyr Zelensky".
- SUBTITLED RT EPISODE ON WAGNER PMC
- Zone of Redemption (Eng subs, 49 mins). Documentary about prison inmates fighting with the Wagner PMC.