The Kremlin are recruiting prisoners “convicted of murder” to fight on the frontline with the Wagner mercenary group in Ukraine.
The Telegraph has suggested that up to 1,000 convicts from 17 prisons have been drafted into the war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin will then issue a pardon for their crimes with a salary.
The Ukraine has reported that Russia has lost more than 42,000 troops whilst the US have revealed that possibly more than 70,000 have been killed in action.
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The independent Russian media channel Verstka has reported, “Three prisoners told human rights activists that businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin was allegedly coming to the colony,” referring to the Wagner boss.
According to Russia Sitting volunteers from prisons must be in good physical condition and will have to pledge an allegiance to the “motherland.”
Verstka quoted some prisoners and said, “Firstly, recruiters show interest in those convicted for murder and robbery.
“Those inmates in prison for drug and sex offences are normally not selected.”
The Verstka report added, “Wagner recruiters refuse elderly people and those with serious illnesses.
“To check, they are asked to do push-ups on the floor, sit-ups and perform other physical exercises.”
The prisoners have been told they will not have any documents, or any badge, and if they are killed their “bodies will not be given to their relatives.”
The inmates have been told if they survive six months of fighting they will be offered their freedom and will be paid £2,6000, but the prisoners told their families that “almost no one will return.”
If they are killed then the new recruits have been told their families will receive a payout of around £66,000 if they are killed in action, whether or not this will happen remains to be seen.
The British Ministry of Defence has previously said of the Wagner Group, “This is a significant change from the previous employment of the group since 2015, when it typically undertook missions distinct from overt, large-scale regular Russian military activity.”