Russian President Vladimir Putin is turning to recruiting prisoners to serve as cannon fodder in Moscow’s war effort in a scheme operated by the murky Wagner Group, the best known of the tyrant’s private armies.
Staggering Losses Necessitate More Cannon Fodder
Modest conquests of Ukrainian lands have come at a staggering cost for the Putin regime in Moscow.
The official Ukrainian estimate, of Wednesday morning, is the Russian military has seen at least 36,500 troops killed in action.
The Wagner Group and the other lesser-known private Putin armies alone were estimated last month to have lost at least 10,000 men.
Russia’s losses in terms of military equipment are maybe even more shocking – with more than 10,000 pieces destroyed.
As part of their offensive in the Donbas region in the southeast, the Russians appear to have pulled troops from the three half-conquered Ukrainian districts in the south.
Here, the Ukrainian troops are now advancing against Kherson in a bid to recapture it.
🚨 BREAKING: FSB & Wagner are recruiting prisoners in Russia.
Conditions: 1) Promise of freedom & money after participation in military operations and mine-clearing in Donbas.
2) No documents, badges, or IDs will be issued.
3) Their bodies will not be returned to their families. pic.twitter.com/ev5vdPpOby
— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) July 3, 2022
Putin 'is recruiting prisoners as cannon fodder' to fight for Russia in Ukraine https://t.co/xdUkL4ApHs
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) July 5, 2022
It may sound like something straight out of “The Dirty Dozen,” but the Kremlin reportedly is offering convicts a “Get Out of Jail Free” card if they’re willing to fight for Russia in Ukraine.https://t.co/nbIrfAAIKY
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) July 6, 2022
Death Pay Promises By Non-Existing Private Army
As the Putin regime has been shying away from announcing full-fledged mobilization in Russia, it has now embarked on a campaign to recruit criminal prisoners and turn them into mercenaries for the Ukraine battlefields.
Inmates from prisons in St. Petersburg, Putin’s hometown, are being actively recruited to fight in Ukraine on the condition their sentences will be annulled.
They would be paid 200,000 rubles (app. $3,200) if they manage to last for six months, according to a report by independent news outlet iStories, as cited by The Daily Mail.
As they are being recruited, the prisoners are being told already known messages of the Russian propaganda, namely, they would be killing “Nazis” in Ukraine.
The shadowy Wagner Group is doing recruitments in at least three prisons in the St. Petersburg district, with heavy involvement of the FSB intelligence service, the successor of the Soviet KGB.
The report cites one relative to a convict from one of the Russian prisoners, who said the inmates are being called up to “defend the Motherland.”
The recruiters’ enticing proposal includes the explanation that prisoners are going to “be in the vanguard” and since the “Nazis”, i.e. the Ukrainian defenders – are “very well prepared,” “not everybody will return.”
In fact, other quotes from the recruitment included forecasts that 20% of those sent to the front may come back alive or “almost nobody will manage to come back.”
The prisoners are also promised that Putin’s Wagner Army is going to pay five million rubles (app. $79,000) to their families if they get killed.
However, the report cautioned the promise may as well be completely empty since there will be nothing in writing, even if an inmate does agree to be sent to fight.
The Wagner Group doesn’t technically exist in Russia, with private militaries being banned under Russian law.
#Ukraine: A Russian soldier demonstrating the most unsafe method of destroying a Ukrainian 5P85S launcher from a S-300PS SAM system.
This launcher is likely a part of a S-300PS battery which was abandoned in #Kherson Oblast in the first days of war. pic.twitter.com/DRCprM5U6b
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) July 6, 2022
These are the indicative estimates of Russia’s combat losses as of July 6, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/lLRgwY5kUU
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) July 6, 2022