“I just want shock troops. Those who go forward, those who are most energetic, survive better,” the oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin says in the widely discussed recording. According to him, the minimum age for going to war is 22, the maximum is 50. However, it is possible to make an exception.
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According to Prigozhin, the convicts will be released after serving half a year in Ukraine, but they can stay with Vagner’s company even longer. He promises the dead that they will be buried in their hometowns as heroes.
On the contrary, according to Prigozhin, the greatest “sin” is desertion. “No one backs down, no one backs down, no one gives up… Those who come and say on the first day, ‘Where did I get to,’ we label as deserters and the firing squad follows.”
“The first prisoners who fought with me were on June 1 during the attack on the Vuhlehir thermal power plant. Forty men from St. Petersburg, strict regimen, recidivism, went to the enemy’s trenches, killed him with knives. Three dead, seven injured. One of the dead was 52 years old, of which he had been sitting for thirty. He died a heroic death,” adds Prigozhin.
The information that Prigozhin personally goes to recruit Russian prisons appeared earlier. According to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the businessman is starting to assert himself as the “face” of a special military operation, as Moscow officially calls the invasion of Ukraine.
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Pro-Russian military bloggers constantly tout Prigozhin’s alleged achievements, and some even say he should replace Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, whom they blame for the recent defeat in the Kharkiv region.
Prigozhin also suggests in the video that he is the real owner of Wagner’s company, notes the Ukrainian server RBK-Ukraine. He thus deduces from the statement that he “has” fighter planes, rocket launchers and tanks in the mercenary group.
According to the server, the so-called Wagnerites managed to recruit more than a thousand people in Russian prisons who agreed to go to war in Ukraine in exchange for the promise of subsequent release.
Russian convicts are increasingly being used by the occupation administration to control the population in the occupied territories, the server adds.
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