Since the beginning of 2023, the Russian Ministry of Defense has intensified a scheme to recruit Russian prisoners to participate in combat operations in Ukraine. It is likely that up to 10,000 convicts signed up in April 2023 alone.
This was reported by the UK Ministry of Defense on Twitter.
As noted in the summary, since the summer of 2022, prisoners have been the main source of recruits for large-scale operations of the Wagner PMC in Ukraine.
However, according to British intelligence, the group highly likely lost access to the Russian penal system in February 2023 when its public feud with the Ministry of Defense was escalating.
"The Ministry of Defense’s prisoner recruitment campaign is part of a broader, intense effort by the Russian military to bolster its numbers, while attempting to avoid implementing new mandatory mobilisation, which would be very unpopular with the Russian public," the Defense Intelligence said.
Author – Anastasiya Glotova, 11/05/2023