“Russia Dismantles Wagner Group One Year After Mutiny Against Putin”

Experts say that Russia has effectively dismantled and replaced the Wagner Group in the year since the mercenaries shocked the world by launching a mutiny against President Vladimir Putin’s government.

On June 23, 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the former leader of the Wagner Group, crossed into Russia from Ukraine and seized the southern city of Rostov, following months of escalating tensions with Moscow’s military leaders. His forces then initiated a swift march towards the capital, encountering little resistance. Prigozhin referred to this action as the “march for justice,” but it abruptly ended the next day when he called off the advance.

Two months later, Prigozhin’s plane crashed, killing him and several senior Wagner members, casting doubt on the group’s future.

EPA equipment seized from Wagner after uprising
After the uprising the Russian government said Wagner handed over tanks, vehicles and weapons

Dr. Sorcha MacLeod, a member of the UN’s working group on mercenaries and lecturer at the University of Copenhagen, stated that former Wagner troops have now dispersed throughout the Russian state. She told the BBC, “Wagner may not exist in the exact form it did previously, but a version—or even versions—of it continue to exist. There’s been a dispersal amongst the Russian state, so there is no single overall controller.”

She emphasized Wagner’s importance, saying, “The Wagner Group was incredibly significant geopolitically and economically to Russia, so it was never going to disappear as some people suggested.”

For years, Prigozhin’s forces had been a valuable, albeit deniable, asset for Russian operations across Africa and Syria. However, it was in Ukraine, where Moscow’s conventional forces struggled against Kyiv’s defenses, that Wagner became more prominent. Throughout late 2022 and early 2023, Wagner played a crucial role in Russia’s few battlefield victories. Composed largely of ex-prisoners, Wagner forces managed to capture the eastern city of Soledar and became deeply involved in the prolonged and intense fighting in Bakhmut.

At its peak, Wagner had about 50,000 mercenaries in Ukraine, according to the US National Security Council.

Now, experts suggest that Wagner’s operations in Ukraine have been absorbed by other Russian state and paramilitary units. A former Wagner commander recently told BBC Russian that the mercenaries were ordered to either “join the Ministry of Defence” or disband.


Kindly share this story:
Kindly share this story:
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram
Share on facebook
Top News

Related Articles