Former Wagner Mercenaries Now Under Russia’s Thumb? Explosive Insights from Avdiivka Unfold

Unveiling a new chapter in the Wagner Group saga, ex-mercenaries are now suspected of waging battles in Avdiivka under the Russian Defense Ministry’s watchful eye.

Once aligned with the Wagner Group, a notorious private Russian military firm, these combatants are now suspected of battling in Avdiivka under the direct oversight of the Russian Defense Ministry. This revelation comes from the recent analysis by the US-based think tank, the “ISW.”

On October 25, a Russian military journalist released an interview with the head of the “Arbat” special guard battalion stationed in Avdiivka. The battalion leader disclosed that many within the Arbat ranks previously served with the Wagner Group.

The spotlight is particularly on Avdiivka, pinpointed as the primary operational zone for the Arbat battalion. This region falls under the jurisdiction of both the “Dikaya Division of the Donbass” and the “Pyatnashka” brigade. As per the ISW, the latter brigade is an arm of the Donetsk People’s Republic, taking charge of Donetsk city’s defenses.

Diving Deeper into Wagner’s Expanding Role

Intriguingly, the commander alluded to the deployment of Wagner-affiliated drone operators and electronic warfare experts to other strategic fronts as required. After the reported demise of Wagner’s key financier, Yevgeny Prigozhin, ties between the Arbat battalion and the Russian Defense Ministry are believed to have solidified.

Ukrainian Intel Confirms Wagner’s Shadows

Ukrainian intelligence, on October 25, validated the presence and combat activities of remnants from the Wagner group near Avdiivka. Earlier communications from both Ukrainian and Russian sources had suggested that select factions of ex-Wagner operatives, potentially directed by Russian command, were positioned around Bakhmut.

The precise involvement of these former Wagner mercenaries in Russian campaigns against Avdiivka remains shrouded in ambiguity. Yet, the Arbat battalion’s chief conveyed a sentiment of cautious optimism about their current status, despite considerable personnel casualties. This narrative has Ukrainian military watchdogs on edge, anxious about Russia’s escalating endeavors in Avdiivka.

Image: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Peredova on the outskirts of Avdiivka (27449297261), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons (no changes made).

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