Wagner PMC is a paramilitary private organization fighters have been applied mainly in the eastern direction, specifically taking Soledar and assaulting Bakhmut. The founder of this organization, Yevgenyi Prigozhin, has been active on camera being at the frontlines for the last weeks and commenting on Wagner fighters success.
The Ukrainian report as of December 2022 concludes that Wagner represents a high threat at close distances, even with high casualties. “The deaths of thousands of Wagner soldiers do not matter to Russian society,” the report states.
“Assault groups do not withdraw without a command… Unauthorized withdrawal of a team or without being wounded is punishable by execution on the spot.”
Phone intercepts obtained by a Ukrainian intelligence source and shared with CNN also indicate a merciless attitude on the battlefield. In one, a soldier is heard talking about another who tried to surrender to the Ukrainians, CCN reports.
“The Wagnerians caught him and cut his f**king balls off,” the soldier says.
Wounded Wagner fighters are often left on the battlefield for hours, according to the Ukrainian assessment. “Assault infantry is not allowed to carry the wounded off the battlefield on their own, as their main task is to continue the assault until the goal is achieved. If the assault fails, retreat is also allowed only at night.”
Despite a brutal indifference to casualties, the Ukrainian analysis says that Wagner’s tactics “are the only ones that are effective for the poorly trained mobilized troops that make up the majority of Russian ground forces.”
It suggests the russian army may even be adapting its tactics to become more like Wagner, saying: “Instead of the classic battalion tactical groups of russia’s Armed Forces, assault units are proposed.”
That would be a significant change to the russians’ traditional reliance on larger, mechanized units.
The Ukrainian report says that Wagner deploys its forces in mobile groups of about a dozen or fewer, using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and exploiting real-time drone intelligence, which the report describes as the “key element.”
Another tool the Wagner soldiers have is the use of communications equipment made by Motorola, according to the document.
Convicts – tens of thousands of whom have been recruited by Wagner – frequently form the first wave in an attack and take the heaviest casualties – as high as 80% according to Ukrainian officials.
Then follow more experienced fighters with thermal imagery and night-vision equipment.
For the Ukrainians, their own drone intelligence is critical to prevent their trenches being overwhelmed by grenade attacks. The document recounts an incident in December in which a drone spotted an advancing Wagner group, allowing Ukrainian defenses to eliminate it before its troops were able to fire RPGs.
If Wagner forces succeed in taking a position, artillery support allows them to dig foxholes and consolidate their gains, but those foxholes are very vulnerable to attack in open land. And again – according to Ukrainian intercepts – coordination between Wagner and the Russian military is often lacking. In one intercepted call a soldier told his father that his unit had mistakenly taken out a Wagner vehicle.
Prigozhin has repeatedly insisted that his fighters were responsible for capturing the town of Soledar and nearby settlements in the past week, the first russian military gains in months. “No units other than Wagner PMC operatives were involved in the storming of Soledar,” he claimed.
Wagner’s performance is Prigozhin’s route to more resources and is instrumental in his ongoing battle with the russian military establishment, which he has frequently criticized as inept and corrupt.
Gerasimov who was appointed the overall commander of Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine earlier this month, made it through criticism of its faltering progress.
The group also appears able to gain weapons by other means. US officials said last week that Wagner had sourced arms from North Korea. “Last month, North Korea delivered infantry rockets and missiles into russia for use by Wagner,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
So long as the russian defense ministry underperforms, Prigozhin will snap at its heels and demand more resources for Wagner, CNN concludes.
The article written by By , and CNN,
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