Wagner, without Prigozhin, returns to battlefield in Ukraine as Russia pushes to seize Avdiivka

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Wagner mercenaries are fighting on the front line in Ukraine for the first time since they mutinied against the Kremlin in June.

The group, also known as “the Musicians” has redeployed under Russia’s National Guard, according to Grey Zone, a Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel.

Belarusian soldiers attend a training by mercenary fighters from Wagner private military company near Tsel village, southeast of Minsk, Belarus.Credit: AP

“Wagner Group has returned to the combat zone in Ukraine,” it reported. “The call out for ‘musicians’ from the reserve and active recruitment will begin shortly,”

A Russian military Telegram channel also confirmed that Wagner fighters have been fighting with a unit around Avdiivka in the Donbas region where Vladimir Putin has ordered a major attack to seize the town.

In June, Wagner mercenaries drove to within 200 km of Moscow before their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, called off the rebellion.

He thought he had a deal with Putin to pardon the rebels, but two months later he was killed when a bomb exploded on his private jet.

There have been reports that battle-hardened Wagner mercenaries would reform under Prigozhin’s son, Pavel, but it has now been confirmed that they are once again fighting in Ukraine.

Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader, also said on Sunday that he had recruited 170 Wagner fighters for a new battalion.

“I welcome the decision made by the fighters. Their experience will be in demand in solving assigned problems,” he said.

A video posted with his Telegram message showed a Chechen military commander shaking hands with several Wagner fighters wearing the group’s distinctive skull insignia.

Moscow is also pressuring migrants from central Asia to sign up to fight and has allowed one of its mercenary groups to send women to front line units.

Telegraph, London

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