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"How does the Wagner Group relate to the Russian Army?" Topic

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Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2023 9:44 p.m. PST

Reading about the fighting around Bakhmut, I see both the Wagner Group and the Russian Army are involved. My understanding is that this started out as a Wagner operation, and the Russian Army involvement is at least a little more recent.

I guess I don't understand what the deal is with Bakhmut. I understand it is a center for mining salt and gypsum. It is also an Eastern European center for sparkling wine. It is a communications hub, though not an incredibly important one, like Petersburg during the American Civil War. I don't see it as being like Verdun in 1916 or Madrid in 1936-9 where it is so important the defenders have to fight to the last man.

I understand it would be nice for the Russians to be able to claim a victory, and for the Ukrainians to prevent them claiming a victory. The place itself just doesn't seem so important the Russians won't stop trying to capture it and the Ukrainians can't pull back.

Am I missing something about the importance of Bakhmut? Also, do Wagner and the Russian Army get along well, or is it something like the German army and the SS in WWII Germany?


Druzhina13 Jan 2023 11:45 p.m. PST

Bakhmut wasn't important. It was in the path of the southern pincer aimed at capturing Sloviansk in May but the Russians failed to capture it. They have been trying ever since. Soledar is only important as a means of capturing Bakhmut as they can't take it front on so try to encircle it. Sloviansk is the real objective but no longer mentioned as there is no chance of taking it in the foreseeable future.

The Ukrainians don't want to lose any settlements to the Russians and subject the inhabitants to rape, torture and murder.

Putin has a similar way of dividing control of his forces and having their commanders compete with each other. A bonus of Wagner & other PMCs is that their casualties aren't Russian Armed Forces casualties.

Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

williamb14 Jan 2023 12:40 a.m. PST

Wagner is a mercenary organization. It supplies mercenaries worldwide. It originally had a few battalion groups in Ukraine, but has become a much larger force after recruiting prisoners from Russian jails. The leader is reportedly a friend of Putin and has ties to Neo-Nazi groups in Russia.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa14 Jan 2023 6:01 a.m. PST

The existence of Wagner as it is now and its involvement in Ukraine seems to owe a lot to how Putin manages his inner circle… There seems to be some anecdotal suggestions that least earlier on the Russian army hasn't always been that quick to re-supply Wagner and cooperation has been spotty. Though arguably both those comments apply to the internal functions of that organisation.

As far as the current operations in the Donbass there seems to a spectrum of views from the Russians are bleeding Ukraine white and vice versa. I think Ukrainian's have fixed their opponent in place probably more by luck than design – a lot the better troops Russian withdrew from the Kherson region have a apparently ended up in the Donbass. I think there are real questions about how sustainable Russian operations are and can Ukraine make use of this situation concentrate elsewhere while Russia seems overly focused?

42flanker14 Jan 2023 6:19 a.m. PST

"Neo-Nazi groups in Russia"?

-surely not!

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2023 10:35 a.m. PST

Many thanks! This seems to be much the way I understood it from things on the internet.

I have a friend who sends me reports supported by a few former US officers about how badly the Ukrainians are doing. Troops are going to mutiny, widespread tuberculosis epidemic in Ukraine, attrition hurting the Ukrainians badly, etc.

The latest is that the Russians want to gain access to the mine tunnels below Bakhmut which are reputedly big enough for tanks to get through, and then use the tunnels to infiltrate the Ukrainian lines. My experience with salt mines is limited to those in central Kansas. The galleries and tunnels are certainly large enough for a tank to move through them, but they are accessed by elevators, which probably could not handle something the weight and size of a tank, unless it were disassembled first. Once there, the mines are more like built up urban areas, allowing infantry to get close enough to use their AT weapons, i.e., not good tank country. Once you get to the other end, the tanks would have to be disassembled and moved up to ground level again. In the meantime, the Medieval response to such an attack would be to flood the tunnels and let everybody drown. Maybe infiltration by a few small teams . . .

In the great strategic scheme of things, the salt and gypsum mines aren't that valuable to the Russians--nice to have, yes, but not that significant. On the other hand, if we have a peace established on the basis of the battlelines at any given time, occupation of the mines (and the sparkling wine reserves) would be a nice prize for any oligarch whose troops occupied the area. Especially since Ukraine isn't enormously invested in the area and could pull out with little damage to their overall position and little loss of face.


JMcCarroll14 Jan 2023 11:14 a.m. PST

"Neo-Nazi groups in Russia"?

Do we need a special operation to rid Moscow of them?

Striker14 Jan 2023 12:01 p.m. PST

Do we need a special operation to rid Moscow of them?

Just do it how they did with Azov since everyone says that was a rousing success.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa14 Jan 2023 12:15 p.m. PST

I doubt the Ukrainians are about to mutiny and yes Ukraine did/does have a TB problem but I had a quick scan through the latest WHO Ukraine bulletin and TB doesn't get a mention.

Seems the Ukrainians may have used them to infiltrate Russian lines themselves previously, but I'd guess that's something of a onetime-thing. I hope the Ukrainians have blocked and/or mined all the entrances on their side of the line. Getting vehicles through would seem possible but likely a bit of stretch if opposed in anyway.

All rather unsubstantiated but it doesn't seem implausible that Ukraine still has a foot hold in Soledar despite Wagner's claims and that while everyone's attention is overly focused there the Ukrainian military has been busy somewhere else…


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2023 3:11 p.m. PST

The Nazis had the SS…

The Russians had the Wagner Group…

Same s…


Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2023 3:11 p.m. PST

Invading to kill Nazis was just an excuse among others. Albeit the Azov unit certainly seemed to be Nazis. But they are very small in numbers.

Yes, the Wagner Group are mercenaries … but they seem to do Putin's biding …

I have a friend who sends me reports supported by a few former US officers about how badly the Ukrainians are doing. Troops are going to mutiny, widespread tuberculosis epidemic in Ukraine, attrition hurting the Ukrainians badly, etc.
First I heard this, but it is possible. But yes, I don't think they are about to mutiny. However, I'm sure there is a lot of things we don't know. And may never …

Would the US have a lot of equipment to go to the Ukraine, if it was thought that there was large scale mutiny ?

Druzhina14 Jan 2023 7:32 p.m. PST

Wagner were the "little green men" in the takeover of Crimea. They were sent to assist the LPR, as Russia denied being involved. Wagner were used to assassinate dissident LPR commanders. wiki.

Putin also has the Rosgvardia, which were interior department troops, now under his direct control. There are the Chechens under Kadyrov, who does what he likes. There are also the volunteer battalions raised by the oblasts – mostly as a cost shifting exercise.

All these have to be equipped and supplied by the Ru MoD, adding to the logistics nightmare.

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Arjuna15 Jan 2023 3:15 a.m. PST

Wagner Group?

Isn't that an association of professional sledgehammer salesmen?
They have some promotional videos on the net.
From their sales tours in Ukraine, Syria, etc.

Divide et impera in form of Warlordism seems to be the organizational principle of the Russian armed power apparatus.
With time it looks less about Ukraine and more about pleasing Putin and making rivals look bad.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2023 10:29 a.m. PST

The Wagner Group has proved useful and effective in supporting Putin's needs. Especially when they can be considered expendable at times. Of course, seems all of the Russian Military is expendable. As Durzhina pointed out Putin has a couple of assets similar to the Wagner Group, per se. Again, all expendable to one point or another it appears.

adding to the logistics nightmare.
And the Russians don't do Logistics very well anyway.

Druzhina15 Jan 2023 8:10 p.m. PST

There is another PMC called Redut which was associated with the VDV and active in the Kherson area, that I have not heard of recently.

Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

Druzhina16 Jan 2023 3:18 a.m. PST

I have seen this sourced only to "Russian TV" (so with a grain of salt):

About Wagner PMC.
The total number of prisoners recruited is 38,244.
As of January 1, 2023, 29,543 people were expelled from PMC Wagner (killed, wounded, missing, captured). Losses – 77%.
Amnestied – 106 people (0.28%)

Paul Jawin, Jan 15, 2023.

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ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa16 Jan 2023 9:36 a.m. PST

The high level of losses is probably not unreasonable since the poor sods that are filling out the various other causality estimates are coming from somewhere – anecdotally it would appear Wagner may be operating a two or more tier system where ex-cons are at the bottom. It would be more interesting to know what the Wagner loss rate is for its better quality troops, which it does have some of.

Given the state of Russian politics these 'PMCs' look increasingly like private armies – retinues of Putin's overmighty subjects?

Bandolier16 Jan 2023 1:44 p.m. PST

According to ex-con Wagner prisoner reports they have been handed old weapons, under equiped then tossed into the 1st wave of attacks after a few days. At least some have requested to be returned to prison but of course refused. Any talk of surrender or refusal of any order is a bullet in the head on the spot.
Even with the filter of Ukrainian propaganda it rings true.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2023 3:56 p.m. PST

Seems like almost all the "new" Russian Infantry is not as good or poorer than the those that crossed the border 11 months ago. If that is possible and it seems it is. Much of which crossed the border are dead or POWs. Probably some deserters too ? And of course, as in WWII, the Russian "commissars" won't think twice about blowing someone's head off for not following orders, running away, etc. in certain cases …

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa17 Jan 2023 9:26 a.m. PST

All usual caveats apply though given Wagner has all but admitted itself the treatment it meets out of some of its recruits hard not to find credible…

dapeters17 Jan 2023 1:31 p.m. PST

Going back to the revolution the commissars and now their decedents have not trusted the Russian Army. Hence this is the solutions.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 6:21 p.m. PST

Hence this is the solutions.
Seems most Russian solutions don't work or are questionable ?

dapeters18 Jan 2023 1:18 p.m. PST

I've always thought that shooting one's own soldiers in combat was bad (and Bad for moral) a mark of desperation and a sign that the wheels are coming off.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2023 6:24 p.m. PST

Agreed ! But the Russians have a long history of it as we know. Just more bad SOPs from them …

dapeters19 Jan 2023 1:29 p.m. PST

Didn't Saddam do this too?

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2023 5:27 p.m. PST

I'm not sure but I wouldn't doubt it. He did killed a lot of people that didn't agree with him, etc. He was a dictator, goes with the job description.

It happened in A'stan too, among the ANA, Warlords, etc., … but again I wouldn't expect anything less from those troglodytes.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2023 9:47 p.m. PST

US Treasury Department Designates Russia's Wagner Group As A ‘Transnational Criminal Organisation'

YouTube link


Ukraine war: Serbia uproar over Wagner mercenaries recruiting for Russia



Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 10:03 p.m. PST

Russia's ‘Elite' Shadow Army Edges Into Complete Collapse



Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2023 8:12 a.m. PST

They really are only marginally better that the Russian Army, AFAIK. They are giving Mercs a bad name. The sooner they are gone the better.

Druzhina13 Feb 2023 12:56 a.m. PST

Russia's Wagner mercenaries halt prisoner recruitment campaign – Prigozhin, Reuters, 10 Feb 2023.

They may have recruited all the prisoners who were interested or could be convinced to go into the meat-grinder.

Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2023 9:52 a.m. PST

They may have recruited all the prisoners who were interested or could be convinced to go into the meat-grinder.
We have a lot of illegal aliens male of military age we could give them… somewhere in the number of a couple of million. 😄😆😆😂🤣🤩

Druzhina13 Feb 2023 12:21 p.m. PST

Another possibility is that internal rivalry between Shoigu and Prigozhin has led to the supply of prisoners being cut, or Prigozhin is becoming too powerful and therefore a threat to Putin.

Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2023 6:00 p.m. PST

That certainly could be going on. Putin's entire invasion has been a comedy of errors from Day 1. Russia seems to have learned nothing. And a lot of people are dying every day.

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