A Wagner mercenary fighting in Ukraine had his testicles cut off by commanders after trying to surrender, according to a new report.
Citing phone intercepts, a Ukrainian military intelligence document detailed how one fighter attempted to give himself up to Kyiv’s forces, but was punished severely.
One soldier is heard telling another: ‘The Wagnerians caught him and cut his f**king balls off,’ according to the document obtained by CNN.
The Russian private military contractor, owned by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, has developed a reputation over the years for its merciless attitude on the battlefield.
A Wagner mercenary fighting in Ukraine had his testicles cut off by commanders after trying to surrender, according to a new report, that has detailed the unique threat posed by the Private Military Company locked in battle with Kyiv’s forces around the city of Bakhmut. Pictured: Wagner boss Prigozhin (centre) is seen in one of the salt mines in Soledar, Ukraine, where he declared his fighters had taken the town without any help from Russian forces
Prigozhin has recruited prisoners to fight along-side his more elite soldiers, using the convicts as canon fodder to advance over the blood-soaked fields of Ukraine.
However, after Wagner and Moscow’s push to take the town of Soledar – a small town near the key objective of Bakhmut – a Russian journalist has said just one-fifth of the Russian prisoners recruited by Prigozhin remain after the intense fighting.
Speaking in a YouTube video posted by the My Russian Rights project, Olga Romanova, head of the Rus Seated charity foundation, said Wagner had recruited around 42,000 to 43,000 convicts by the end of 2022.
That number has now likely surpassed 50,000 fighters, but ‘10,000 are fighting at the front, because all the rest are either killed…or missing, or deserted, or surrendered,’ she said, according to a translation of her comments by Meduza.
She claimed that desertion has been a major problem for the Wagner Group since Autumn, with fighters often returning home fully armed with weapons.
Romanova speculated that Prigozhin does not keep tabs of soldiers who go missing, instead just writing them off as dead.
This may explain, she said, why he has been caught sending empty coffins of the ‘war dead’ back to their families in Russia.
Those Wagner mercenaries that are caught surrendering or deserting the PMC face severe consequences, instilling fear into other PMC fighers.
Yesterday, it was reported that a high-ranking Wagner fighter had been arrested in Norway after he fled across the border seeking asylum, fearing for his life.
Russian Andrey Medvedev has said he was in the same unit as Yevgeny Nuzhin – who changed sides in the Ukraine war – and was executed with a sledgehammer in a harrowing video that circulated online for doing so.
Yesterday, it was reported that a high-ranking Wagner fighter had been arrested in Norway after he fled across the border seeking asylum , fearing for his life. Russian Andrey Medvedev (right) said he was in the same unit as Yevgeny Nuzhin – who changed sides in the Ukraine war – and was executed with a sledgehammer in a harrowing video that circulated online (left)
Russian private military contractor Wagner, owned by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, has developed a reputation over the years for its merciless attitude on the battlefield
At the time, Prigozhin described Nuzhin as a traitor, with the close ally of Vladimir Putin saying a ‘dog receives a dog’s death’ in response to the clip.
Now, in the Ukrainian military intelligence document, a new account thought to be from November has come to light suggesting that a Wagner deserter had his testicles cut off for trying to surrender to Kyiv’s forces.
The same report dated December 2022 detailed the unique threat posed by Wagner.
‘The deaths of thousands of Wagner soldiers do not matter to Russian society,’ the report states, according to CNN which obtained it.
‘Assault groups do not withdraw without a command… Unauthorized withdrawal of a team or without being wounded is punishable by execution on the spot.’
The report also says that Wagner mercenaries are not allowed to carry the wounded off the battlefield, meaning injured troops can be left on the floor for hours.
‘If the assault fails, retreat is also allowed only at night,’ it adds.
Despite the brutality of the tactics, they are the only ones that are effective for the poorly trained mobilised Russian troops that make up the majority of Putin’s forces, the report suggests, according to CNN.
It even says that Russia’s army may be starting to employ Wagner-like tactics, instead of the typical battalion tactical groups used by the Russian Armed Forces.
Some Russian mobilised troops are even considering joining Wagner, it says.
Wagner deploys its forces in mobile groups of a dozen or fewer, using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and drones to gather intelligence. The report describes this as the ‘key element’ to their advances.
The mercenaries also use Motorola equipment to communicate. The company told CNN it has suspended all sales to Russia and closed its operations there, suggesting the PMC is sourcing the hardware from elsewhere.
CNN says the report explains how Wagner sends in the convicts in its first wave of an attack, who take the heaviest casualties.
Prigozhin’s more elite soldiers, equipped with modern equipment including thermal imaging and other night-vision devices, follow the initial wave.
Ukraine’s own use of drones is also vital in its defence against such tactics. The document says in December, a Ukraine-operated drone spotted an advancing Wagner group, allowing Kyiv’s forces to eliminate it before it got too close.
Pictured: Putin’s chef Yevgeny Prigozhin is filmed recruiting inmates to fight in Ukraine in one of Russian colonies in September 2022. A Russian journalist has said of the 50,000 recruited by Wagner, just 10,000 remain ‘because all the rest are either killed…or missing, or deserted, or surrendered,’ she said
Pictured: A man wearing a camouflage uniform walks out of PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening in Saint Petersburg, November 4, 2022
Details from the document emerged after reports suggested Putin has turned against Prigozhin after he ‘failed to take the hint’ and kept on bragging that his forces were achieving more success than Russia’s army.
In recent weeks, Prigozhin has gloated his private paramilitary fighters were more superior and successful than the country’s conventional forces.
Earlier this month, Prigozhin bragged that his fighters had single-handedly taken control of the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar, which has been razed by fighting.
He declared Wagner was probably ‘the most experienced army in the world today.’
Putin is said to have felt threatened by Prigozhin’s rise and tactless self-assertion, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a report on Monday.
This was evident, they said, when the leader pointedly did not credit Prigozhin or his Wagner forces for the town’s capture earlier.
Putin, paranoid about Prigozhin’s power, began to reintroduce himself as an involved wartime leader and met commanders after the Wagner boss posted a picture of himself with his mercenaries at the entrance of a salt mine in Soledar.
‘Prigozhin did not take the hint, if hint it was, but instead redoubled his efforts to assert himself by advertising the superiority and successes of his own troops,’ the experts from ISW said.
The Wagner boss instead tried to boost his standing by claiming he had arrived at the front lines near Bakhmut to speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding the control of territories there.
‘His rhetoric and self-presentation had become overbearing and ostentatiously swaggering until things began to go south for him,’ the think-tank researchers said.
Prigozhin is known as Putin’s chef for providing catering services to the Kremlin, alongside heading up the notorious private army that has carried out the Kremlin’s bidding in the middle-east, Africa and now in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Pictured: Yevgeny Prigozhin is pictured in an FBI wanted poster
Prigozhin’s growing influence has even been likened to that of Grigori Rasputin at the court of Tsar Nicholas II. Andrei Kolesnikov, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said ‘There is a negative diabolical charisma in [Prigozhin], and in a sense this charisma can compete with Putin’s.
‘Putin now needs him in this capacity, in this form.’
Prigozhin responded to the comparison to the almost mythological figure who treated the Tsar’s son for hemophilia – a condition which means blood does not clot.
Unlike Rasputin, the Wagner warlord said, ‘I do not staunch blood flow. I bleed the enemies of our motherland. And not by incantations, but by direct contact’.
Since Putin’s war began, Prigozhin and Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov have been jockeying for power, suggesting that they could one day want to supplant Putin.
Prigozhin has been publicly critical of Russia’s army and military leadership.
‘Prigozhin likely imagined that his efforts in Ukraine would continue to lend him military and political power in Russia,’ ISW experts said.
But Putin has now begun marginalising the Wagner group and has returned to relying on his conventional forces by appointing General Valery Gerasimov as Russia’s new military commander in Ukraine.
‘Prigozhin’s recent apparent fall from grace and influence likely reflects the real limitations on his actual power,’ the ISW said.
Experts suggested the return to prominence of Russia’s conventional military will make it less likely Putin will ‘give in to the crazier demands of the far-Right, pro-war faction’ in Moscow.
But on Tuesday, Prigozhin dismissed Russia’s top generals as a ‘bunch of clowns’ over an order to soldiers in the war to shave off their beards.
According to a daily update on the war in Ukraine from Britain’s Ministry of Defence, Prigozhin said ‘war is the time of the active and courageous, and not of the clean-shaven.’
Wagner has become increasingly influential and feared in recent years. In Africa, it has been linked to civilian massacres in Mali, while reports have also placed its fighters in Libya and Burkina Faso.
The group grew in notoriety during Russia’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War.