Putin’s Wagner Group mercenaries want to recruit women prisoners as snipers

The alleged leader of Putin's private army has said they will start to recruit female prisoners (Picture: Dmtriv TV)
The alleged leader of Putin’s private army has said they will start to recruit female prisoners (Picture: Dmtriv TV)

A Russian mercenary group is aiming to recruit women prisoners to become snipers in Ukraine, the founder has confirmed.

Yevgeny Prigozhin – the alleged leader of the Wagner Group, which is widely considered Vladimir Putin’s private army – wrote on social media he was hoping to have more women sent to fight in Ukraine.

He said: ‘Not only nurses and communication staff but also in sabotage groups and sniper pairs. Everyone knows this has been done before.

‘We’re getting there. There’s some resistance but I think we’ll overcome it.’

Female sharpshooters were used during World War Two, and were hailed in Soviet propaganda.

According to a Russian official east of Moscow, women imprisoned in the city of Nizhny Tagil have even asked to be sent to Ukraine to help fight.

Male Russian convicts have already been sent to the front line, with authorities threatening them with longer sentences and beatings if they refuse to fight.

The total prison population in Russia fell by 23,000 in just two months as Putin pushes for more to be sent to the front.

FILE - businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin gestures on the sidelines of a summit meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Konstantin palace outside St. Petersburg, Russia, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Yevgeny Prigozhin is widely believed to be the leader of the Wagner group (Picture: AP)
Putin's chef Yevgeny Prigozhin filmed recruiting inmates in one of Russian colonies in September 2022
Mr Prigozhin has already been filmed recruiting inmates in one of Russia’s prisons (Picture: East2West News)

Some 500 prisoners have been killed fighting in Ukraine, having ‘volunteered’ themselves in exchange for freedom after the war.

A source said: ‘According to information gathered from what is being said by relatives it is impossible to refuse, as if prisoners do, they might disappear.’

Leaked footage has also shown Mr Prigozhin offering pardons to prisoners if they offer to fight.

While addressing a large group of prisoners gathered in the courtyard of a jail in Yoshkar-Ola, he said will be set free if they survive six months on the front line.

‘If you serve six months [in Wagner], you are free,’ he said, adding: ‘If you arrive in Ukraine and decide it’s not for you, we will execute you.’

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