Wagner private military group centre opens in St Petersburg


  • A Ukrainian soldier said Wagner fighters continued rushing their position despite being shot at with a machine gun
  • The soldier added that the mercenaries do not stop even as their comrades are killed
  • Wagner has banned its soldiers from carrying wounded comrades off the battlefield

Mercenaries recruited by Russia's infamous Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) and deployed to the war in Ukraine are "very likely" on drugs before attack, a Ukrainian soldier suggested.

Speaking with CNN, Ukrainian soldier Andriy said Wagner mercenaries kept rushing Ukrainian positions even as Kyiv's troops shot at them with a machine gun. The soldier also said the mercenaries do not stop even as their comrades are killed, instead, they climb over the corpses and continue their assault.

"Our machine gunner was almost getting crazy, because he was shooting at them. And he said, I know I shot him, but he doesn't fall. And then after some time, when he maybe bleeds out, so he just falls down. They're climbing above the corpse of their friends, stepping on them," Andriy said, likening the scene to a zombie movie.

"It looks like it's very, very likely that they are getting some drugs before attack," he added.

Andriy's account of the Wagner group is similar to a Ukrainian intelligence report obtained by the outlet last week wherein it said that thousands of mercenaries in Wagner assault groups do not withdraw from their attacks despite the deaths of their comrades. The report, dated December 2022, noted that anyone who withdraws from the attack without authorization from the command or without being wounded will be executed.

"The deaths of thousands of Wagner soldiers do not matter to Russian society," the report read, according to CNN. "Assault groups do not withdraw without a command... Unauthorized withdrawal of a team or without being wounded is punishable by execution on the spot."

In addition to banning withdrawal, Wagner has forbidden its mercenaries from carrying the wounded off the battlefield until the goal of the attack is achieved.

The outlet also said a Ukrainian intelligence source shared with it audio of an intercepted phone call where one soldier said Wagner's group cut off his comrade's genitals after he was heard talking with a person who tried to surrender to the Ukrainian army.

It is unclear how many mercenaries have been recruited to fight in the war in Ukraine. However, an assessment from the U.K. Ministry of Defense estimated that Wagner is commanding at least 50,000 fighters in Ukraine, many of whom were recruited from penal colonies.

People in military uniform, claimed to be soldiers of Russian mercenary group Wagner pose for a picture believed to be in a salt mine in Soledar