Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigossin is said to have already recruited around 30,000 men from Russian prisons.
Oleg B.* knows what he wants: freedom. He was from a Russian prison for drug offences. When members of Wagner’s group went to his penal colony to recruit, they were promised a deal: amnesty would be granted to anyone who survived six months. B agreed.
After completing his recruit training in occupied Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, he was deployed for only a month, spending two days on the front lines of the trenches. He was captured by the Ukrainians just before Christmas.
Die Tagesseetung “the world” Met Oleg B. in a POW in western Ukraine. He was told in advance that journalists would be visiting him, and Wagner decided to talk to the group and himself during the war.
Thousands of dead mercenaries: Prigozhin visits the Great Wagner Cemetery in Russia(00:45)
The Russian private army was made up of prison inmates
B. Yevgeny Prigozhin (61) fought for mercenaries. Even before Russia attacked Ukraine, the private army had been fighting for Russian interests abroad for years: Syria, Sudan, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Libya, Venezuela, Mozambique and Mali – their losses are not included in official statistics. Additionally, Wagner has exclusive access to heavy equipment from state resources.
In the war against Ukraine, Wagner mercenaries were quickly sent to the front line. Boss Wagner was soon to expand his forces and even obtained a license to recruit from Russian prisons: murderers, thieves, fraudsters, thugs or drug dealers – all, including Oleg B, are allowed to go to war for Wagner.
The Geneva Convention for the Protection of Wounded and Sick Military Personnel does not apply to Wagner mercenaries, but only to soldiers of regular forces.
Wagner mercenaries as cannon fodder
B. that he saw nothing but Wagner militias in Ukraine. From training in eastern Ukraine, back-to-front logistics: Wagner is nothing but fighters, no regular soldiers, says B. Because Wagner is there to lead the way. For the regular army, he says.
For this purpose, Prigozhin recruited about 30,000 men from Russian prisons. According to Ukrainian estimates, 80 percent have already been killed, wounded or captured in Ukraine. B said that he was the only survivor of his group of 50. Says: “We knew it was meat and agreed to it.” (hey)
* Name changed
“Wannabe pop culture fanatic. Zombie advocate. Entrepreneur. Internet evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Typical travel buff.”