Russia is recruiting prisoners en masse for deployment in Ukraine – NGO


Prisoners with combat experience from across Russia are being recruited en masse to fight in Ukraine, prisoners’ rights group Gulagu.net has reported.

Representatives of the Kremlin-linked private military contractor Wagner and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) reportedly offered the convicts to deploy to or work in the restoration and clearance of occupied Ukrainian territories.

According to Gulagu.net, recruitment campaigns have recently taken place in penal colonies of Russian cities such as St. Petersburg, Tver, Ryazan and Smolensk, as well as Rostov, Voronezh and Lipetsk.

About 300 prisoners from the republic of Adygeya in southern Russia have reportedly agreed to join Russian forces in Ukraine.

A profanity-laden video of Adygeya posted by Gulagu.net on Sunday showed convicts loitering in the prison yard ahead of what its authors said were talks with Wagner.

Gulagu.net reported on Saturday that 10 prisoners were recruited from a penal colony in Nizhny Novgorod last week.

On Monday, he reported that another 60 prisoners from another penal colony in Nizhny Novgorod had agreed to sign military contracts.

Gulagu.net said it got the information from relatives and prisoners who themselves contacted the NGO through its hotline.

NGO report corroborates independent media investigations detailing Wagner’s recruiters offering high wages and salaries to their families in the event of their death.

The unconventional recruitment drive appears to be an attempt by the Russian military to replace its forces depleted by four months of war in Ukraine.


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