More than 400 Russian mercenaries were flown in from Africa, with orders from Moscow, tasked to assassinate Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and his immediate government circle, and to prepare the ground for Moscow to take control, according to The Times.
The Wagner Group
The Wagner Group, a private militia run by one of President Putin’s closest allies and operating as an arm-length branch of the state, flew in mercenaries from Africa five weeks ago on a mission to decapitate Zelensky’s government in return for a handsome financial bonus.
“They can appear from the shadows, do very violent things and then disappear again, without it being obvious who was responsible. They are not directly linked to the Russian government and therefore they are plausibly deniable.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin’s: Putin’s Private Army
According to the Times, the army-for-hire, run by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin – a close ally of the Russian president who is often dubbed ‘Putin’s chef’ – was flown in five weeks ago and is being offered a huge sum for the mission.
Wagner has conducted covert operations across Africa and the Middle East, including in Syria, and they have most recently been on the ground in Ukraine to guide Russian tanks to the capital.
General Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander of Joint Forces Command, said: ‘They are very effective because they are hard to pin down.
Sources told the Times the militia were briefed about Putin’s plans in Ukraine back in December, long before the Russian army was told.
Soldiers and generals were feared to oppose the invasion plans, and several have been executed for doing so, claimed the mercenaries.
Source: The Times