KEY POINTS

  • Kyrgyz citizens were offered a wage of 100,000 rubles and prospects of obtaining Russian citizenship: Report
  • Recruiters are also reportedly hiring people with criminal records
  • The recruiters noted they are working in the interest of the Russian Ministry of Defense

Representatives for the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization often referred to as “Putin’s shadow army,” are recruiting people from Kyrgyzstan to join the war in Ukraine, according to a report.

An investigation launched by global creative media agency MediaHub found that Kyrgyz citizens are being recruited under the guise of recruiting employees to protect “industrial facilities in remote regions of Russia.”

The job opening, which was posted on the Instagram page kg.zarplata, offered starting wages of 100,000 rubles ($1,700) a month and the prospect of obtaining Russian citizenship. MediaHub also noted that the same job ads are being used with a focus on hiring citizens of Uzbekistan.

The investigative journalists contacted the recruiting agents at the number mentioned in the job post but they were told that they were no longer hiring for the position, according to the report. However, the recruiters offered a different job that lasted four months or more with a starting salary of 240,000 rubles ($4,100) per month.

In addition, the investigative journalists said the recruiters also hire people with criminal records as long as they are not citizens of Europe or NATO countries. New recruits are assigned to the special operation zone in Ukraine. During a phone call, the recruiter stated that people with criminal records will not receive compensation in the event of injury, the report said.

The recruiter noted that they are working in the interest of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, according to the investigation.

While the job ads did not explicitly state that the Wagner Group was behind the recruitment, the investigative journalists found that the phone number used to send out job descriptions were stored under the name “PMC Wagner.”

The investigation comes as the war between Russia and Ukraine extends into its sixth month. To date, neither Russia nor Ukraine have officially disclosed their military losses. According to estimates from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, at least 39,700 Russian soldiers had died in the war as of Monday.

It is unclear whether the estimates include the 54 deaths among Russian soldiers Saturday night after Ukrainian forces launched a successful attack on a Russian ammunition depot in southern Ukraine.

Kyrgyz border guards patrol the contested frontier with Tajikistan
Kyrgyz border guards patrol the contested frontier with Tajikistan AFP / VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO
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