Who are brutal Wagner Mercenaries seen fighting for Russia in Ukraine?

The Wagner Group mercenaries have been seen for the first time-fighting in Ukraine. Footage from a drone from the eastern Ukrainian city of Popans shows a detachment of Russians who took part in intense street battles with Ukrainian defenders storming a house and throwing grenades before forcing them to surrender.

According to The Sun report, drone footage captures Russian troops inside the city of Popansa in eastern Ukraine. The group is engaged in intense street fighting with the Ukrainian defenders. The footage captures the moment death squads storm a house and throw grenades before forcing people to surrender. The soldiers are mercenaries of the Wagner Group, according to pro-Russian sources.

What is the Wagner Mercenaries Group?

The Wagner Group was founded in 2014 with the Russian annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of the Donbas war. It was created by Dmitri Utkin, a former lieutenant colonel in the Russian special intelligence forces.

The name refers to the German composer Richard Wagner, Utkin’s pseudonym, and it is believed that he chose it for sympathizing with Nazism since Wagner was Adolf Hitler’s favourite musician.

However, the main financier of the network is the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as Putin’s “chef” for his catering deals with the Kremlin. Prigozhin has been sanctioned by the United States due to his financial support for the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll factory accused of influencing the 2016 US election.

Wagner Group mercenaries began operating in Ukraine supporting the Russian army and pro-Russian militias in Crimea and Donbas. Many came from the Slavic Corps, a military company that had participated in a failed operation in Syria in 2013. Most are characterized as sympathetic to Russian nationalism and the Slavic Native Faith, a neo-pagan movement with racist elements in its doctrine.

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Supported Russian troops in Syria

Little by little, the network expanded its framework of operations. In 2015, they landed in Syria to support Russian troops in the civil war. Its purpose was to guarantee access to oil and gas for Bashar al-Assad’s regime. During the conflict, the militiamen acted as shock troops for Moscow, which reduced the casualties of regular Russian soldiers at the front. However, the organization suffered a defeat against the US Army in the Battle of Khasham in 2018.

According to an investigation by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington (CSIS), the Wagner Group operates as a private company, but “its management and operations are deeply intertwined with the Russian military and intelligence community under President Vladimir Putin.”

The Wagner Group is a private militia run by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, operating as an independent branch of the state. At the start of the war, he led mercenaries from Africa on a mission to behead the Zelensky government for a hefty financial bonus.

In Russia, there is no law that prohibits or allows the existence of private military groups, but the Kremlin has used the Wagner Group as a shock force in Syria and in the war in Donbas. In this way, very few Russian regular soldiers die in combat.

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