The British Defense Ministry accused Russia on Monday of employing mercenaries from the private military contractor Wagner on the front line in Ukraine to reinforce the fighting of its regular troops.
UK intelligence has warned in its daily update that after lowering its recruitment standards recently, Wagner has now started hiring previously blacklisted individuals and convicts to bolster Russian troops in Ukraine.
They believe that this move will likely have a serious impact on the group’s future operational effectiveness and will reduce its value as a prop to the regular Russian forces that are already facing issues due to the limited training given to new recruits.
The additional issue that could aggravate tensions between Russia’s military and the mercenary group might stem from the fact that Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, was recently given a high national honor for his military performance.
According to the latest intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defence, Russia continues to commit to its Donbas offensive nominally six separate armies that were established for around 150,000 personnel at full strength, before the invasion.
The ministry noted that when undertaking offensive operations in any one sector at a time, Russia has often operated with company-sized groupings of around 100 personnel in recent weeks, but has, nonetheless, struggled to sustain effective offensive combat power.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military informed that in their effort to resume the offensive toward the city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region, the Russians are making renewed efforts to break through its defenses in the neighboring northeastern Kharkiv region.
The Ukrainian military claimed it has rebuffed several attacks on the town of Avdiivka.
The report says that missile strikes and attacks with rocket systems have also picked up in southern Ukraine, where six people were injured in a village in the Odesa region and the city of Mykolaiv.