Ukraine, Wagner mercenaries come from the gray area

Ukraine, Wagner mercenaries come from the gray area

The Wagner mercenaries have emerged from the gray area in Russia, with the war in Ukraine putting their prominent role in the limelight. Their presence on the front lines is being hailed by the official media – like a recent special by the hit TV channel – as if they were military in every way, even heroes, since the regular forces could not win the military special operation in a short time. And this is happening even though the official narrative considered their exploits and their mistreatment in Donbass 2014, in Libya, in Syria, in various African countries as a story to be kept secret only until recently. Especially since the law in Russia prohibits the activity of mercenaries. But to confirm the turnaround, Wagner has started making her hiring public

A pro-Kremlin journalist went so far as to refer to the mercenaries as “musicians” (after the name of the company they work for) of an “orchestra”. “This page was published by the Wagner specialist, the famous ‘musician’ of the famous ‘orchestra’,” said Rossiya 1 war correspondent Evgeny Poddubny, who was sent to the Vuhlehirska power plant in the Donetsk region, in a masked man with a helmet with skull and two crossed swords.

“If before everyone acted as if they didn’t exist, now everything is different. They are no longer vaguely volunteers or the armed forces acting against the Ukrainians. They are Wagner’s men,” a Special Task Channel reporter wrote in a blog on Telegram Wire Kremlin. The author of the Telegram channel, which is very popular with mercenaries, The Other Side of the Medal, in an interview on YouTube, points out that Russian senior officers mistakenly believed that they could do without mercenaries and capture Kyiv in a few days.

“But when the more serious trench warfare began, they turned to the One Whose Name Cannot Be Named.” Their participation in the war was delayed by a clash between Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the oligarch at the head of Wagner Evgheny Prigozhin, who, among other things, as a sign of the outcome of the confrontation, received the honor of the hero of Russia. Although the Kremlin continues to deny the government’s connection with Wagner, mercenary operations in Ukraine are closely coordinated with the Defense Ministry.

63-year-old retired General Kanamat Botashev was killed after his Su-25 was shot down near Popasna in Ukraine in late May. Botashev was turned away by the military in 2013 when a Su-27 he was flying without a license crashed. After his death he was celebrated as a member of a Wagner unit. In the filming conducted at his funeral, the honor of the Hero of Russia signed by Putin and a crown with the message: “To the hero, to the man, to the Wagner fighter” appeared.

The Battle of Popasna, in which he died, is considered Wagner’s first major victory in Ukraine. “The front applauds its military ‘orchestra’, which is used whenever the going gets tough but is never talked about,” commented TV correspondent Sergei Zanin at the time. Last week, official war correspondents reported that Wagner’s men have set up their headquarters at Popasna, the base attacked by Ukrainian forces on Sunday after envoy Sergei Sreda posted photos with Prigozhin visiting the site on his Telegram account.

Popasna was not the only success of the mercenaries in Ukraine. In June, Wagner forces helped regulars take Lysychansk, which fell on July 3, as well as the entire Luhansk region. Between the end of May and the beginning of July Wagner appeared in public.

And, for example, it has started to openly advertise its recruitment activities in at least 27 of the 85 regions of the Russian Federation. “Would you like to spend an unforgettable summer with new friends and earn money at the same time? Travel agency Gruppo Wagner offers you tours in Europe, Africa and the Middle East,” read the posts published on VKontakte.

According to the reports, Wagner is looking for men between the ages of 24 and 50 of any nationality “except EU countries, NATO and Ukraine” without diseases such as hepatitis. Prisoners are admitted even if they are not charged with terrorism, rape or drug trafficking. The appointment is for “at least 4 months” and is remunerated at the equivalent of $4,000 a month. Training of recruits takes place at the Molkino base in Krasnodar Territory.