Ukraine, the Wagner mercenaries come out of the gray area

In Russia they are described as heroes. Their participation in the war and their successes overshadow the regular military who failed to win the special military operation in a few days

The Wagner mercenaries have come out of the gray area in Russia, with the war in Ukraine theirs has become a prominent role in the spotlight. Their presence at the front is celebrated by the official media – as recently did a special report broadcast by the TV channel with the highest ratings – as if they were military in all respects, indeed as heroes, given that the regulars did not manage to win the special military operation in a short time. And this happens even if only until recently the official narrative considered their exploits, and their abuses, in the Donbass in 2014, in Libya, in Syria, in various African countries as a story to be kept secret. Especially since the law in Russia prohibits the activity of mercenary. But to confirm the turnaround, Wagner has begun to publicize her hiring search openly

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

“If before everyone pretended they didn’t exist, now everything is different. They are no longer vague volunteers or the armed forces pushing against the Ukrainians. They are Wagner’s men,” wrote a Special Task Channel reporter in a blog on Telegram wire Kremlin. In an interview on youtube, the author of the Telegram channel The other side of the coin, very popular among mercenaries, points out that the Russian senior officers wrongly believed that they could do without mercenaries and conquer Kiev in a few days.

“But when the more serious trench warfare began, they appealed to the one who cannot be named.” Their participation in the war was delayed by a clash between the Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the oligarch at the head of Wagner, Evgheny Prigozhin, who among other things, a sign of the outcome of the confrontation, received the honor of Hero of Russia. Although the Kremlin continues to deny the link between the government and Wagner, the 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 in Ukraine at Popasna in late May. Botashev was banned from the military in 2013 when a Su-27 he was piloting without authorization crashed. After his death, he was celebrated as a member of a Wagner unit. In the shots taken at his funeral, the honor of hero of Russia signed by Putin and a crown with the message: “To the hero, to the man, to the fighter of Wagner” appeared.

The Battle of Popasna in which he died is believed to be Wagner’s first major victory in Ukraine. “The front line applauds her military ‘orchestra’, which is always deployed when things get difficult but which is never talked about”, commented TV correspondent Sergei Zanin at the time. Last week, official war correspondents reported that Wagner’s men have established their headquarters in Popasna, the base hit by Ukrainian forces on Sunday after envoy Sergei Sreda posted photos with Prigozhin visiting the site on the site. 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. It was precisely between the end of May and the beginning of July that Wagner came out into the open.

And for example, it has begun advertising its recruiting activity openly in at least 27 of the 85 regions of the Russian Federation. “Do you want to spend an unforgettable summer with new friends and make money too? The travel agency ‘Gruppo Wagner’ offers you tours in Europe, Africa and the Middle East”, reads posts published on VKontakte.

Wagner, according to the announcements, is looking for men aged between 24 and 50 of any nationality “excluding EU countries, NATO and Ukraine”, without diseases such as hepatitis. Prisoners are also accepted if they are not charged with terrorism, rape or drug trafficking. The recruitment is for “at least 4 months” and is remunerated with the equivalent of 4 thousand dollars a month. The training of the recruits takes place at the Molkino base in the Krasnodar region.