Intelligence services say thousands of Russian convicts who fought in Wagner Group to be pardoned and released

Archive – Offices of the Wagner Group private security company in St. Petersburg. – MAKSIM KONSTANTINOV / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The UK Intelligence services said Tuesday that »thousands of Russian convicts» who have fought in the ranks of the Wagner Group will »probably be pardoned and released» following the commutation of their sentences after taking part for six months in hostilities in Ukraine.

»The period of prisoner recruitment by the Wagner Group reached its peak in autumn 2022, when the convicts were given a commutation of sentences after six months of service,» they have said, before adding that »about half of the recruited prisoners have been killed or wounded» in combat.

Thus, they have stated that »the evidence from Russia points to the fact that the group is respecting its promise to release the survivors» and have pointed out that »the certificates given to released Wagner Group veterans state that they were supported by a decree of (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin», according to a series of messages published by the British Ministry of Defense through its account on the social network Twitter.

»Now that the Wagner Group is probably banned from recruiting more prisoners, this exodus will worsen their personal problems. In addition, the sudden influx of often violent criminals with recent and often traumatic combat experience is likely to pose a significant challenge to Russia’s embattled society,» they concluded.