Of the 50,000 prisoners Wagner recruited, only 10,000 remained at the front. The rest have died or withdrawn (NGO).

Of the 50,000 Russian soldiers recruited by the private military group Wagner to fight in Ukraine, only ten thousand were on the front lines, says Olga Romanova, head of the Russian Seated Charitable Foundation. jellyfish.io.

“According to our data, 42-43 thousand [de pușcăriași] They were hired by the end of December. Now, most likely, there are already more than 50 thousand. Of these, ten thousand are fighting at the front, because everyone else was killed, or disappeared, or fled, or surrendered,” said Romanova for the My Russian Rights Project.

According to him, “with terrible force” the prisoners began to withdraw from the Wagner group from the fall. Many of them, the head of the project notes, took weapons with them and returned to Russia. As an example, he cited a case that happened in the Rostov region in early December 2022. Then, an ex-prisoner who broke away from the group opened fire on the police, injuring one of them.

Romanova suggested that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of BMC Wagner, “promised Putin that he would win the war”, not keep a record of missing prisoners or escapees, and write down all those on the dead list. This can be evidenced, in particular, by reports of PMCs returning empty coffins to prisoners’ relatives.

The recruitment of prisoners from Russian prisons to participate in the war in Ukraine became known in the summer of 2022. Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner group, personally visited some colonies for recruiting purposes.

In December, US National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said the number of Wagner fighters in Ukraine could reach 50,000. He added that 90% of this group may be ex-prisoners. In January, this information was partially confirmed by the British Ministry of Defence.

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