The pro-Russia mercenary Wagner Group, which has sustained almost 3,000 casualties during the last week in its battle to take the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, is now trying to recruit soldiers from Russian High Schools, the United Kingdom’s Defense intelligence Ministry said on its Twitter page Monday.
“In recent weeks, Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin has likely lost access to recruiting in Russian prisons due to his ongoing disputes with the Russian [Ministry of Defense] leadership,” the agency’s tweet said. “In recent days, masked Wagner recruiters also gave career talks in Moscow high schools, distributing questionnaires entitled ‘application of a young warrior’ to collect the contact details of interested pupils.”
The BBC reported in January that the private mercenary outfit is used by Russia in many countries for military operations and is currently the main force trying to take the city of Bakhmut in fierce fighting.
“Wagner almost certainly now commands 50,000 fighters in Ukraine and has become a key component of the Ukraine campaign,” the U.K. M.O.D. said in the report.
The report said that soldiers from the group have, up until now, constituted mainly of 80% prisoners, is now opening up its recruiting efforts as the Bakhmut losses mount.