1674634944 Cruel and disposable Secret report reveals Wagner Groups brutal tactics

Cruel and disposable: Secret report reveals Wagner Group’s brutal tactics in Ukraine (and why they pose a unique threat)

Wagner Group fighters have become expendable infantry in Russia’s eastern offensive, but a Ukrainian intelligence document obtained by CNN shows how effective they were around the town of Bakhmut and how difficult they are to fight.

The Wagner Group is a private military company, aka Mercenaries, run by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who’s been seen a lot on the front lines in recent weeks and is always quick to claim credit for Russian advances. The group’s fighters were heavily involved in the capture of Soledar, a few kilometers northeast of Bakhmut, and other areas around the city.

December’s Ukrainian report concludes that the Wagner group poses a unique threat in closequarters combat such as urban combat, even when suffering exceptional casualties. “Russian society is not interested in the deaths of thousands of Wagner soldiers,” the document says.

“Striking groups will not withdraw without an order. Withdrawal of a team without authorization or without injury is punishable by execution on the spot.”

Phone calls intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence and shared with CNN also point to a ruthless attitude on the battlefield. In one of them, a soldier can be heard talking about another who tried to surrender to the Ukrainians.

“The Wagnerians caught him and cut off his testicles,” he says.

CNN was unable to independently authenticate the call, which allegedly took place in November.

Cruel and disposable Secret report reveals Wagner Groups brutal tactics

Yevgeny Prigozhin said last week that the Wagner Group is probably “the most experienced army in the world.” Credits: AP

Wounded fighters of the Wagner group often remain on the battlefield for hours, according to Ukrainian analysis. “Infantry is not authorized to transport wounded from the battlefield, as their main task is to continue the attack until the objective is reached. If the attack fails, retreat is only allowed at night.”

Despite a brutal indifference to casualties — demonstrated by Prigozhin himself — the report said the group’s tactics “are the only effective ones for the poorly trained troops in the field that make up the majority of Russia’s ground forces.”

The document even suggests that the Russian army could adapt its tactics to become more like the Wagner group: “Assault units are proposed instead of the classic tactical battalion groups of the Russian armed forces.”

This would be a significant change from Russia’s traditional reliance on large mechanized units.

After tapping telephone calls from Ukrainian secret services, some emergency services are considering a change to the Wagner Group. On one such call, a soldier compares the Wagner group to his unit and says, “It’s like heaven and earth. “

The Wagner Group’s style of warfare

The Ukrainian report states that the Wagner Group deploys its forces in mobile groups of a dozen or fewer, deploys grenade launchers (RPGs) and exploits the realtime surveillance capability of drones, which the report describes as a “key element”.

Another tool used by Wagner’s mercenaries, according to the document, is the use of Motorola communications equipment.

Motorola, the US telecom company, assured CNN that it had suspended all sales to Russia and ceased operations in the country.

Convicts tens of thousands recruited by Wagner often form the first line of attack and suffer the heaviest casualties up to 80%, the document says.

The most experienced fighters follow with night vision goggles and thermal imaging cameras.

Drones are also indispensable for Ukrainians to prevent their trenches from being attacked. The report notes an incident in December in which a drone spotted an advancing Wagner unit and allowed Ukrainian defenses to eliminate them before they could throw grenades.

If a Wagner unit manages to gain a foothold, they can use artillery support to dig trenches and consolidate their gains, but these trenches are very vulnerable to attack in open terrain. And again according to intercepted calls coordination between Wagner teams and the Russian military is often nonexistent. In one of the calls again unauthenticated by CNN a soldier told his father that his unit had mistakenly taken a Wagner vehicle.

Prigozhin has repeatedly insisted that his fighters were responsible for capturing the town of Soledar and nearby towns over the past week, the first Russian gains in months. “Apart from Wagner, no other unit was involved in the attack on Soledar,” he emphasized.

Wagner’s appearance is Prigozhin’s way of getting more resources and is key in his ongoing fight against Russian military theory, which he sees as inept and lazy.

According to British intelligence, Russian military chief of staff Valery Gerasimov has ordered Russian soldiers to be better prepared. Prigozhin replied that “War is for the hardworking and brave, not for the smallhaired.”

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Headquarters of the Wagner Group in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo credit: Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/SIPA/AP

Commenting on Gerasimov’s new direction, Britain’s MoD said on Monday that “the Russian force continues to face operational gridlock and heavy casualties.” “The priority Gerasimov gives to jobs that are considered minor should confirm the fears of his many skeptics in Russia.”

Gerasimov was appointed supreme commander of Russia’s “military special operation” in Ukraine earlier this month after growing criticism of Moscow’s faltering progress.

And while the Russian Defense Ministry presents a disappointing result, Prigozhin will stay on his heels and demand more resources for Wagner.

The group also appears to be able to obtain weapons through other means. US officials said last week that Wagner procured weapons from North Korea. “Last month, North Korea shipped rockets and missiles to Russia for Wagner,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

The new Rasputin?

Prigozhin is not lacking in ambition. Speaking in Soledar last week, he said Wagner was probably “the most experienced army in the world.”

He also said that his armed forces already had multiple missile launch systems, their own antiaircraft defenses and artillery.

Prigozhin also made a subtle comparison between the Wagner and the rigidity of the Russian Army’s command, saying that “everyone on the ground is heard”. “Commanders consult with war fighters, and Wagner’s leadership consults with commanders. That is why the Wagner group has moved forward and will continue to move forward.”

Two months ago, Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, a foreign policy thinker, compared Prigozhin’s growing influence to that of Grigory Rasputin in the court of Tsar Nicholas II. “Putin needs military effectiveness at all costs,” he told Current TimeTV.

“There’s a devilish vibe in there [Prigozhin] and in some ways that charisma can rival that of Putin. But Putin needs him now.”

Rasputin, a mystical figure, treated the tsar’s son for hemophilia, a blood disease that causes bleeding. Prigozhin has responded to the settlement, according to a statement released last weekend by the oligarch’s company, Concord.

“Unfortunately, I don’t stop blood. I make the enemies of our homeland bleed. And not through divine deeds, but through direct contact with them.”