Putin sends volunteer units to Ukraine led by Wagner ex-boss

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In a recent discussion with ex-commander of the private military company Wagner, Andrey Troshev, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the establishment of voluntary units, Obektivno.bg reports

Photo credit: Kremlin.ru/Reuters

Putin stated in a video issued by the Kremlin’s press service, “We previously deliberated your focus on the development of volunteer units capable of fulfilling various combat operations, specifically in the realm of [Russian] special military assignments”. 

Putin brings to notice that Troshev himself was part of such an assembly for over a year. He emphasizes the commander’s firsthand awareness of the potential challenges that need to be tackled in advance, thereby facilitating the most effective execution of combat activities. 

61-year-old retired colonel

Meanwhile, Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov communicated to reporters that Troshev “has a role in the Russian Ministry of Defense”. This statement followed Putin’s meeting with Troshev and Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-bek Yevkurov at the Kremlin on Friday. 

Troshev, a 61-year-old retired colonel and Russia’s decorated hero held a managerial position at Wagner PMC, as noted by TASS, and was known by the call sign “Sedoi”

Photo credit: New America

Prior reports from Russian media sources indicate Troshev was tipped to replace former Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin. Putin, in the past, had endorsed the idea of mercenaries retaining their services in a private military company under Troshev’s leadership.

After Prigozhin

In a resolute move following Prigozhin’s unsuccessful rebellion in June, the Kremlin has taken decisive control over the recalcitrant mercenary group, Wagner. The government disbanded the group’s military base in southern Russia and commanded the surrender of thousands of tonnes of weaponry by the unit. 

After the failed insurrection, Putin pronounced the prohibition of Wagner within Russian borders. He provided an alternative path for the fighters: a contractual relationship with the defense ministry, shifting to Belarus, or returning to civilian life. 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

This week saw claims from the Ukrainian military suggesting that some ex-Wagner fighters had rejoined the battlefield. However, they now reportedly function as members of the standard army, rather than constituting a separate entity.

Wagner is back in Ukraine 

Mykhailo Podolyak, Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s advisor, played down the impact of their reappearance on Ukrainian soil. In a statement on X, previously known as Twitter, Podolyak asserted that the media-driven hype surrounding the return of past Wagner fighters to Ukraine exceeded the actual significance of the event. 

Recent reports from British military intelligence indicate that hundreds of former Wagner associates might be relocating to Ukraine via diverse units. Their definitive status remains uncertain, but it is presumed that these individuals have transitioned to various segments of the official Russian Ministry of defense forces and other private military companies, according to the briefing. 

Photo by Donat Sirokin

Potential rift within the group

Some channels on Telegram affiliated with Wagner distanced themselves from a meeting with Troshev at the Kremlin, signifying a potential rift within the group. 

Friday quotes from “Lotus” – a pseudonym used by the former Wagner commander, Anton Yelizarov, suggest that most fighters have refrained from joining the defense ministry. “The talk of the majority of Wagner’s commanders working under the auspices of the ministry of defense is a mere fantasy of the defense ministry,” stated Yelizarov, who used to serve as a deputy to Dmitry Utkin, often referenced as the founder or co-founder of Wagner. 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Adding to assertions, Yelizarov, who is deemed to have spearheaded the overtaking of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, claimed that Troshev was never a high-ranking Wagner commander. 

The trajectory of Wagner and its foreign assignments has been uncertain since the June insurrection and the subsequent death of Prigozhin two months later.

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