Wagner Group recruited 49,000 convicts, 32,000 were dead within weeks of deployment in Bakhmut

According to newly released casualty figures, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group mercenaries had a twenty percent chance of being killed or wounded while fighting in Ukraine.

The unverified rates of injury and death among Prigozhin’s mercenaries in Ukraine were provided by a Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel, according to The Kyiv Post, with Newsweek and Politico also picking up the story.

Nearly one in five of the Wagner soldiers who fought in Ukraine were either wounded or killed or based on the figures given, leaving few unharmed in their combat operations.  

A total of 78,000 thousand Wagner mercenaries fought for Russia in Ukraine based on numbers from the roughly translated Telegram channel known as Wagner Loading, according to Politico.

The independent Russian news website Meduza noted the information was published as part of a statement from a Wagner commander known by the callsign Marx. 

The statement claimed that 49,000 of the mercenary group’s soldiers were convict soldiers, criminals who were enlisted to fight from the Russian prison system.

The Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel noted 32,000 of Prigozhin’s mercenaries were killed in the fighting from the beginning of the war to Bakhmut’s capture in May. 

An even greater number of soldiers were wounded, and the statement on Wagner Loading noted 44,000 of the mercenary group’s soldiers were hurt in some way during their time in Ukraine. 

The Kyiv Post pointed out that only 16,000 of Prigozhin’s soldiers made it through the entire period Wagner was active in Ukraine without getting injured during the fighting. 

These figures seem to have been released in response to a claim that 33,000 Wagner soldiers signed contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense after the group’s coup. 

“I cannot say where the 33,000 people who went to the Ministry of Defense came from,” the statement on Wagner Loading read based on a translation by the Kyiv Post. “Here’s the real math.”

The statement explained the group’s casualty figures and then revealed that a total of 25,000 soldiers were still alive before going on to explain their whereabouts.

“Of those, up to 10,000 have left and are leaving for Belarus,” the statement claimed, according to Politico’s translation, adding that 15,000 of the troops were on leave. 

“I don’t know where the 33,000 who left for the military came from. If all those who were killed and are on leave have signed contracts, then it’s possible,” the statement from Marx on the Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel noted.

Newsweek pointed out that the claims made on Wagner Loading could not be verified, noting: “Battlefield losses on either side of the ongoing war in Ukraine are difficult to calculate” and adding the Russian Ministry had been contacted for comment. 

In the wake of Prigozhin’s failed coup against leaders in Moscow, Wagner’s soldiers were given a choice to join Prigozhin in exile in Belarus or be allowed to sign a contract with the Defense Ministry, according to a July 12th Associated Press report. 

The number of troops who decided to follow Prigozhin to Belarus or sign a contract with Moscow is unknown. If Wagner Loading’s figures are accurate, it will provide a fascinating insight into what’s been happening with the mercenary group since the coup.

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