The founder of PMC Wagner, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin announced the termination of the recruitment of prisoners from Russian colonies to participate in the war in Ukraine.
Such a message appeared in the Prigozhin Press Service telegram channel, where a question from Live24 journalists was published: “A large number of prisoners have been contacting our editorial office. is being conducted. And you yourself no longer come to the colonies. Is that so?”
“Yes, indeed, it is,” Yevgeny Prigozhin replied. “The recruitment of prisoners in the Wagner PMC has been completely stopped. All obligations to those who work for us now are fulfilled.” The businessman did not name the reasons for the decision.
The recruitment of prisoners in the Wagner PMC became known in the summer of 2022. Convicted for grave and especially grave violent crimes were sent to war: murders, robberies, rapes. For six months of service under the contract, Prigozhin promised the prisoners pardon and the removal of a criminal record.
In early January, Prigozhin announced the first group of those pardoned. Journalists of the publication “Agency” and the Russian service of the BBC identified among them recidivist thieves, drug dealers and murderers. One of them, veterinarian Dmitry Karavaichik, was sentenced in July 2019 to 17 years in a strict regime colony “for creating a criminal group for the production and sale of amphetamines.” Another prisoner is Anatoly Salmin, who has been repeatedly convicted, including for murder.
It is not known how many prisoners were recruited in total. The Federal Penitentiary Service reported a reduction in the number of prisoners last year by almost 30,000 people. Olga Romanova, head of the Rus’ Sedentary Foundation, said that the Wagner PMC could attract up to 50,000 prisoners. At the end of January, according to Mediazona, there were several times fewer people wishing to go to war in the colonies. Lawyer Yana Gelmel said that because of this, prisoners are forced to join the Wagner PMC, threatening with new terms.
The United States recognized Prigozhin’s mercenaries as a “transnational criminal organization.” What does it change?
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