Russian mercenary chief announces plans to recruit 30,000 more fighters
CNN —The chief of Russia’s Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin announced on Saturday that he plans to recruit about 30,000 new fighters by mid-May, according to a voice message published on Telegram.
Prigozhin also claimed Wagner recruits about 500 to 800 people on average per day, sometimes up to 1,200 people per day.
Wagner is a mercenary company run by Prigozhin, who has been highly visible on the frontlines in recent months – and always quick to claim credit for Russian advances.
The group is renowned for its blunt and brutal tactics, and for showing little regard for the lives of its own soldiers.
Lieutenant General Mark Hertling described its tactics in eastern Ukraine as “like feeding meat to a meat grinder.”Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin delivers a video message outside of Bakhmut, Ukraine, in March.
TelegramLast week, Prigozhin said that Wagner had opened recruitment efforts in 42 cities in Russia.
Wagner has also recruited a small number of foreign fighters.
The prison recruitment campaign was well publicized and widespread, netting as many as 40,000 fighters for Wagner last year.
But many of the private military group’s recruits have been killed or wounded in heavy fighting around the city of Bakhmut, the scene of a months-long battle.
That the group is seeking tens of thousands of new fighters suggests that it has sustained major losses in the conflict.
Prigozhin called for the support of regular Russian forces and a more reliable flow of munitions, but neither were forthcoming.
A Ukrainian military intelligence report obtained by CNN detailed the remorseless tactics used by Wagner.