Shocking Moment Wagner Group Chief Says Russian Soldiers Are Becoming “Cannibals” in Ukraine – Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, said in a video published by the Daily Mail on Tuesday that his latest recruits from Russian prisons will prove to be “real cannibals” on the battlefield.
The term, while shocking, does not technically mean that they will eat human flesh. Instead, Prigozhin appeared to be referring to the newly-recruited soldiers’ willingness to fight.
In the video, Prigozhin is seen at a training facility used to prepare Russian soldiers to join his private paramilitary group.
The training ground is set in the Russian village of Molkino in the southern Krasnodar region.
Among the soldiers recruited by Wagner previously and presently are murderers, rapists, thieves, and other criminals who have been promised clemency if they fight in Ukraine for six months.
Many soldiers recruited by Wagner have already been freed after serving for six months.
Prigozhin said that experienced Russian soldiers were present at the training ground, helping prepare soldiers for war.
“This is a supplementary training base for our fighters,” the Wagner chief says. “The primary training is in Molkino and here experienced fighters are given additional training in their specialties.”
Prigozhin went on to say that Molkino produces “young eagles,” referring to the men in training, and promised that the training camp makes “real cannibals” out of them.
Several videos exist on social media showing Prigozhin overseeing the training of former prisoners on the Molkino training grounds.
In early January, videos were shared on Telegram showing Prigozhin visiting the Wagner facility in Molkino, paying a visit to wounded soldiers, and visiting a cemetery.
Other videos show the Wagner chief handing out hatchets and sledgehammers to Wagner fighters, as well as soldiers from the Belgorod and Kursk militias.
The use of sledgehammers as a weapon is nothing new for Wagner soldiers, having used them to murder soldiers in Syria in 2017, and more recently, a Wagner deserter in December.
Former Mercenary Describes How Wagner Shoots Deserters in Ukraine
On Monday, a former Wagner mercenary told CNN about the brutality he witnessed while serving as a private soldier.
The defector, Andrei Medvedev, is currently in Norway where he is seeking asylum – and his comments reveal how low the Kremlin is willing to stoop to win this war.
Medvedev told Anderson Cooper how Wagner soldiers were frequently sent to fight on the battlefield with insufficient information and direction.“They would round up those who did not want to fight and shoot them in front of newcomers,” the former Russian mercenary said.
“They brought two prisoners who refused to go fight and they shot them in front of everyone and buried them right in the trenches that were dug by the trainees.”
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Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.