Soldiers were used as “human bait”. Bagmouth, a small town in the east UkraineIn which the Russia continues to grow differently, even as it recedes elsewhere, it is Evkuny Prigogine, Boss of the Wagner Forces, which is in the works. And the Russian oligarchy is close to respectability Vladimir Putin But the man, who shows growing personal political ambitions, seems willing to do anything to win this military trophy.
Since early October, he has been accused by Ukraine of dumping thousands of fighters there, recruited directly from Russian prisons, against promises of pay and amnesty. According to several testimonies of Ukrainian soldiers in Bagmouth, several weeks are spent mainly on the front lines, especially at night, where these former prisoners serve as “human bait”.
7 to 8 commandos overnight
“It starts at 6 p.m.,” says Anton, nicknamed “Polyak,” a 50-year-old member of the 93rd Ukrainian Regiment who is on rest because of an injury. “These inexperienced soldiers are sent under our bullets for several minutes and they stay there,” he testified. According to him, up to 7 or 8 “diversion” commandos can be sent to a position overnight.
“Their job is to advance in our direction, so that we can open fire on them, and then they can find us”, understands Sergey, known as “Danton”, the main of the 53rd regiment of the Ukrainian forces from the outskirts of the contact line. . “Then they send artillery or other experienced commandos to our positions,” he continues. Most of the Russian fighters fall under Ukrainian shelling, and rarely, only a few, wounded ones are captured.
“What’s your prison number?” »
That same morning, Danton found one of these Wagner fighters alive, ex-convicts arriving in regiments and called by the Ukrainians “disposable soldiers.” “In a way, he’s lucky to still be alive. Most of his companions were killed,” says the soldier.
In a video he shot and dated the same day – which AFP has confirmed – the Russian prisoner can be seen lying on the floor of a cell, with injuries to his right arm and left leg. He is interrogated by a Ukrainian major.
– “What is your prison number?” “, he asks.
– “This is Kopeka” (correctional prison No. 1 located in Voronezh, western Russia), the Russian mercenary replies.
Mercenaries, professional soldiers and ex-convicts
The latter refers to joining Wagner a month ago and undergoing rapid training at three different locations, the last of which was in Luhansk. All who were with him “Criminals” recruited by Wagner’s group, the prisoner explains. The paramilitary group, which emerged in Ukraine in 2014, has for years been suspected by Westerners in various theaters of Kremlin-backed operations. Syria Inside Central African Republic. Moscow Always denied.
The private company was composed of mercenaries hardened in the foreign theaters, but professional Russian soldiers who sided with Wagner because they were better armed and better paid than the army, as well as recruited and discharged without experience. In prison. Yevgeny Prigozhin admitted to being the founder on September 26, ending years of rumours.
“He’s changing [les] Cannon Fodder Soldiers »
A few days ago, a video surfaced showing him recruiting inmates from a correctional facility Russian, to send them to Ukraine. According to a statement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on October 16, Wagner’s boss would have succeeded in jailing “2,000” prisoners to fight in Bagmouth.
For Nestor, a Ukrainian soldier from the 53rd regiment, involved in this bloody front, Evgeny Prigozhin, who once served as a supplier to the kitchens. The Kremlin, “earned the nickname Putin’s chef”. “He turns 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 soldiers into cannon fodder,” says the fighter. The number of Russian recruits who fell on the Bagmouth front is unknown. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, estimated that at the “low end” this was the equivalent of one company per day, or 100 to 200 men.