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The Wagner mercenary group wants to recruit 30,000 fighters by mid-May, the group’s founder, Evgheni Prigojin, nicknamed “Putin’s Chef”, announced as quoted by Reuters.
Prigojin claimed in a message on Telegram that Wagner’s recruitment centers, opened in 42 Russian cities, employ an average of 500-800 people a day.
But he offered no evidence for those figures, which Reuters could not independently verify.
Prigozhin’s mercenaries suffered heavy losses in the fighting for the Ukrainian city of Bahmut, which has been holding out for almost a year, in the longest and bloodiest battle of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In January, the US estimated that Wagner had about 50,000 fighters in Ukraine. Among them are 40,000 prisoners whom Prigozhin recruited from Russian prisons, with the promise that they would be pardoned if they survived six months of fighting.
Ukrainian officials say about 30,000 of Wagner’s fighters have defected or been killed or wounded in the fighting. The figure could not be independently verified, however.
Prigojin claims that the recruitments are going better than expected and that those who sign up are in better physical shape than the inmates recruited from prisons.
“By mid-May, we intend to increase the number of fighters in our units by approximately 30,000,” said “Putin’s Chef.”
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Tags: heavy losses suffered Bahmut Wagner group recruit fighters months