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Date: 2024-05-21 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00022034
RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE
DEPLOYMENT OF THE WAGNER GROUP

WAR IN UKRAINE ... Wagner Group’s hardened mercenaries pictured in eastern Ukraine


Members of the Wagner private militia can be identified by this insignia

Original article: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bcdc3332-b40e-11ec-8c29-375fe0cc1f19
Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess
WAR IN UKRAINE ... Wagner Group’s hardened mercenaries pictured in eastern Ukraine Tom Ball ... The Times Monday April 04 2022, 1.30pm BST, Kremlin-backed mercenaries employed by the Wagner Group have been pictured for the first time in Ukraine after defence officials warned that more than 1,000 fighters had been deployed. Images circulated on Monday show a soldier from the shadowy private army standing in front of the Park Inn hotel in Donetsk. The soldier carries an AK-15, an assault rifle used by Russian special forces, and wears the grinning skull of the Wagner insignia on his uniform. The photograph was published by Semyon Pegov, a pro-Kremlin war correspondent, who has been embedded with Russian forces in Ukraine. A soldier in Donetsk wears the Wagner insignia SEMYON PEGOV Wagner is a private militia run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, one of President Putin’s closest allies. It operates as an arm’s-length branch of the state to offer the Kremlin plausible deniability for activities it does not want to be associated with. Its motto is said to be: “Death is our business and business is good.” “The GRU [Russian military intelligence] use Wagner as their deniable dirty operations troops,” said Philip Ingram, a former British intelligence officer. “The fact that they are using AK-15s, the Spetsnaz’s new assault rifle, is a clear indication that they are being contracted and commanded by Russian special forces.” The Park Inn where the Wagner fighter was pictured is owned by Radisson and until recently served as the offices of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a UN-recognised body. British intelligence sources reported last week that the Wagner Group had been deployed to eastern Ukraine after Russia’s regular army suffered heavy losses. More than 1,000 mercenaries were thought to have arrived in the country, along with senior commanders, sources said. • Wagner Group: the Russian mercenaries hunting Zelensky “Russian forces are continuing to consolidate and reorganise as they refocus their offensive into the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine,” the Ministry of Defence said today. “Russian troops, including mercenaries from the Russian state-linked Wagner private military company, areb being moved into the area.” Moscow’s pretext for war on the basis of “denazification” is undermined by the presence of Wagner forces, owing to the group’s long association with fascist politics. Dmitri Utkin, a senior Wagner commander and former Spetsnaz officer, is thought to be a neo-Nazi. Last year images surfaced of a man purported to be Utkin, inked with Waffen-SS tattoos on his shoulder and a Reichsadler Eagle tattoo on his chest. Prigozhin, 60, is often known as “Putin’s chef” because of his lucrative catering contracts with the Kremlin. Wagner has been accused of perpetrating brutal atrocities carried out on behalf of the Kremlin in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. In January mercenaries from the group were believed to have been involved in a massacre of 300 civilians near Bria, a town in the Central African Republic. Prigozhin is using the English courts to sue Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative website Bellingcat that has revealed many of its shadowy operations.



The text being discussed is available at
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bcdc3332-b40e-11ec-8c29-375fe0cc1f19
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