UPDATE: Videos reportedly show FSB and Wagner Group mercenaries recruiting prisoners in Russia

Russia's FSB and Wagner Group mercenaries are reportedly recruiting prisoners in Russia. Image: AnnaTamila/Shutterstock.com

VIDEOS circulating social media on Tuesday, July 12, have reportedly captured the moment Russia’s FSB and Wagner Group mercenaries recruit prisoners in Russia to enter the war in Ukraine.

UPDATE 5.55 pm (July 12) – The videos apparently show IK-1 UFSIN prisoners in the Republic of Adygea, also known as the Adyghe Republic, a republic of Russia being recruited for the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence has back the claims.

In the caption announced to the video, the Twitter user said: “PMC Wagner engages in recruitment. About 300 people agreed to go and fight in this colony.”

The user cites Gulagu.net as the source of the video. The Gulagu.net project is “against corruption and torture in Russia, which unites more than 19 thousand independent human rights defenders, volunteers and participants.”

“The project states that convicts are massively recruited for the war in Ukraine throughout Russia: cases of recruitment are known, including IK-9 of the city of Shakhty, Rostov region, IK-1 in Semiluky, Voronezh region, IK-4 “Fornosovo” in St. Petersburg, IK -5 Nizhny Novgorod region, further in the Lipetsk region, Mordovia and Krasnodar Territory,” the post continues.

On Tuesday, July 12, British Defence Intelligence said that “Russian Armed Forces’ personnel shortages may be forcing the Russian MOD to turn to non-traditional recruitment. This includes recruiting personnel from Russian prisons for the Wagner Private Military Company.”

Also on July 12, rumours began making the rounds on social media suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered his Wagner Group mercenaries to pick off foreign volunteer fighters in Ukraine.

Rumours spread after the Russian Defence Ministry published data on the number of foreign fighters helping Ukraine fight in the war against Russia.


ORIGINAL 8.48 am (July 3) – Exiled Russian Activist Vladimir Osechkin shared information on his Telegram channel on Sunday, July 3 that accused Russia’s FSB and Wagner Group mercenaries of recruiting prisoners in Russia for the war in Ukraine.

According to Osechkin, members of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation and Wagner Group – a network of mercenaries and a de facto private army of Russian President Vladimir Putin – are trying to recruit prisoners in Russia to fight in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Osechkin said: “I bring to your attention that in the colony IK-7 Yablonevka of the Federal Penitentiary Service for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, FSB officers are currently recruiting volunteers to Donbas among prisoners.”

He added: “Motivational work is carried out with them, they are promised freedom for participation in military operations and in operations to clear mines and restore buildings on the territory of Donbas.

“At the same time, they are openly told that they will not have any documents or a token, and their bodies will not be given to their relatives. They promise money to those who survive. They were practically not given time to think and consult with their relatives.

“On July 3, the first ones who passed the selection will be taken out of prison,” he said.

As previously reported, the Wagner Group have struggled to make an impact in Ukraine for President Putin, hence the need for further recruitment.

On June 18, after a Soviet Igla anti-aircraft missile system shot down a Russian Su-25 aircraft near Svetlodarsk, a hired Wagner Group mercenary was captured.

The man captured, Andriy Volodymyrovych Fedorchukov, admitted during interrogation that he was a mercenary of the private military Wagner Group and was hired to kill Ukrainians for a salary of 205,000 rubles a month.

On Thursday, June 9, Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed a base housing Wagner Group mercenaries in the town of Kadiivka in Luhansk Oblast, which has been under occupation since 2014.

Prior to that, Ukraine’s army destroyed a large unit of the Wagner Group in the Donbas region on Tuesday, May 31 and as a result, Russian soldiers were reportedly too afraid to fight in Ukraine after word of the Wagner Group mercenaries’ demise spread.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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