Wagner’s brutal techniques in Ukraine revealed by intelligence report

CNN — Wagner Group fighters have grow to be the disposable infantry of the Russian offensive in japanese Ukraine, however a Ukrainian army intelligence doc obtained by CNN units out how efficient they’ve been across the metropolis of Bakhmut — and the way tough they’re to struggle towards.

Wagner is a non-public army contractor run by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been extremely seen on the frontlines in current weeks — and at all times fast to say credit score for Russian advances. Wagner fighters have been closely concerned in taking Soledar, a number of miles northeast of Bakhmut, and areas across the city.

The Ukrainian report — dated December 2022 — concludes that Wagner represents a singular menace at shut quarters, even whereas struggling extraordinary casualties. “The deaths of hundreds of Wagner troopers don’t matter to Russian society,” the report asserts.

“Assault teams don’t withdraw and not using a command… Unauthorized withdrawal of a crew or with out being wounded is punishable by execution on the spot.”

Telephone intercepts obtained by a Ukrainian intelligence supply and shared with CNN additionally point out a cruel angle on the battlefield. In a single, a soldier is heard speaking about one other who tried to give up to the Ukrainians.

“The Wagnerians caught him and minimize his f**king balls off,” the soldier says.

CNN cannot independently authenticate the decision, which is alleged to have taken place in November.

Wounded Wagner fighters are sometimes left on the battlefield for hours, in accordance with the Ukrainian evaluation. “Assault infantry will not be allowed to hold the wounded off the battlefield on their very own, as their principal activity is to proceed the assault till the objective is achieved. If the assault fails, retreat can also be allowed solely at night time.”

Regardless of a brutal indifference to casualties — demonstrated by Prigozhin himself — the Ukrainian evaluation says that Wagner’s techniques “are the one ones which are efficient for the poorly educated mobilized troops that make up the vast majority of Russian floor forces.”

It suggests the Russian military could even be adapting its techniques to grow to be extra like Wagner, saying: “As an alternative of the traditional battalion tactical teams of the Russian Armed Forces, assault models are proposed.”

That will be a big change to the Russians’ conventional reliance on bigger, mechanized models.

On the bottom, in accordance with Ukrainian intelligence telephone intercepts, some mobilized troops are eager about switching to Wagner. In a single such intercept, a soldier contrasts Wagner together with his unit and says: “It is f**king heaven and earth. So if I will f**king serve, I would higher f**king serve there.”

The Wagner approach of struggle

The Ukrainian report says that Wagner deploys its forces in cellular teams of a few dozen or fewer, utilizing rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and exploiting real-time drone intelligence, which the report describes because the “key component.”

One other software the Wagner troopers have is using communications gear made by Motorola, in accordance with the doc.

Motorola advised CNN it has suspended all gross sales to Russia and closed its operations there.

Convicts — tens of hundreds of whom have been recruited by Wagner — continuously type the primary wave in an assault and take the heaviest casualties — as excessive as 80% in accordance with Ukrainian officers.

Extra skilled fighters, with thermal imagery and night-vision gear, observe.

For the Ukrainians, their very own drone intelligence is crucial to forestall their trenches being overwhelmed by grenade assaults. The doc recounts an incident in December during which a drone noticed an advancing Wagner group, permitting Ukrainian defenses to eradicate it earlier than its troops had been capable of hearth RPGs.

If Wagner forces achieve taking a place, artillery help permits them to dig foxholes and consolidate their beneficial properties, however these foxholes are very weak to assault in open land. And once more — in accordance with Ukrainian intercepts — coordination between Wagner and the Russian army is usually missing. In a single intercepted name — once more not verifiable — a soldier advised his father that his unit had mistakenly taken out a Wagner car.

Prigozhin has repeatedly insisted that his fighters had been accountable for capturing the city of Soledar and close by settlements up to now week, the primary Russian army beneficial properties in months. “No models apart from Wagner PMC operatives had been concerned within the storming of Soledar,” he claimed.

Wagner’s efficiency is Prigozhin’s path to extra assets and is instrumental in his ongoing battle with the Russian army institution, which he has continuously criticized as inept and corrupt.

In response to UK intelligence, Russian army chief of employees Valery Gerasimov gave orders that troopers must be higher turned out. Prigozhin responded that “struggle is the time of the lively and brave, and never of the clean-shaven.”

Commenting on the brand new Gerasimov strictures, the UK Protection Ministry mentioned Monday: “The Russian power continues to endure operational impasse and heavy casualties; Gerasimov’s prioritisation of largely minor rules is prone to affirm the fears of his many sceptics in Russia.”

Gerasimov was appointed the general commander of Russia’s so-called “particular army operation” in Ukraine earlier this month amid mounting criticism of its faltering progress.

As long as the Russian protection ministry underperforms, Prigozhin will snap at its heels and demand extra assets for Wagner.

The group additionally seems capable of achieve weapons by different means. US officers mentioned final week that Wagner had sourced arms from North Korea. “Final month, North Korea delivered infantry rockets and missiles into Russia to be used by Wagner,” Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned.

The brand new Rasputin?

Prigozhin will not be wanting ambition. As he stood in Soledar final week, he declared that Wagner was most likely “probably the most skilled military on this planet in the present day.”

He claimed its forces already had a number of launch rocket programs, their very own air defenses and artillery.

Prigozhin additionally made a refined comparability between Wagner and the top-down rigidity of the Russian army, saying that “everybody who’s on the bottom is listened to. Commanders seek the advice of with the fighters, and the PMC (non-public army firm) management consults with the commanders.”

“That’s the reason the Wagner PMC has moved ahead and can proceed to maneuver ahead.”

Two months in the past, Andrei Kolesnikov, senior fellow on the Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide Peace likened Prigozhin’s rising affect to that of Grigori Rasputin on the courtroom of Tsar Nicholas II. “Putin wants army effectiveness at any price,” he advised Present Time TV.

“There’s a adverse diabolical charisma in [Prigozhin], and in a way this charisma can compete with Putin’s. Putin now wants him on this capability, on this type.”

Prigozhin seems to have been intrigued by the comparability with Rasputin, a mystical determine who handled the Tsar’s son for hemophilia, the bleeding dysfunction. However in feedback this weekend revealed by his firm Harmony, he had his personal typical twist on it.

“Sadly, I don’t staunch blood circulate. I bleed the enemies of our motherland. And never by incantations, however by direct contact with them.”

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