NewsHe defected to Ukraine. Insights from a former Wagnerite

He defected to Ukraine. Insights from a former Wagnerite

The Russian switched to the Ukrainian side.
The Russian switched to the Ukrainian side.
Images source: © X | Anton Heraszczenko

5:22 AM EST, December 11, 2023

The Russian Volunteer Corps is a group predominately made up of Russians who, amid the ongoing conflict, have sided with Ukraine. Among them is Mikhail Pavlov, a previous colony inmate, who revealed in a conversation, the offer he received from the Wagner Group while he was in the penal colony.

Some Russians resist serving under Putin's command. Given the opportunity, they would rather surrender to the Ukrainians and be taken prisoner than face death on the battlefield.

Some find a place in the Freedom Legion or the Russian Volunteer Corps, which are paramilitary units comprising Russians who wish to align with Ukraine. Typically, deserters and prisoners join the Legion, while immigrants from other countries join the Russian Volunteer Corps.

The Russian Volunteer Corps has executed bold operations, including an assault on the airport in Kursk and a takeover of Russian border villages near Ukraine.

Defection to Ukraine

Mikhail Pavlov is a soldier who, despite being a Russian citizen, chose to take a stand in the conflict on the side of Ukraine.

According to a statement on his social media profile by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, Pavlov was incorporated into the penal battalion known as Storm-Z.

During his time in the penal colony, where he spent just over four years, the Wagner Group arrived. They showed up in black Mi-8 helicopters, carrying weapons. Pavlov described the proposition made to the inmates. They offered a pardon and a monthly salary of 200 to 300 thousand rubles for joining the Wagner Group.

Still, it was indicated that only around 20 to 30 percent of the enlisted prisoners would ultimately return home. "They were seeking out criminals, thieves, murderers. They suggested that we would have the opportunity again to commit the crimes for which we were imprisoned. Honestly, I'm not joking. That's what they said," added Pavlov.

Regrettably, despite the unsavory elements associated with the Wagner Group, Russia's front battle abilities continue to improve. In recent weeks, Putin's armed forces have seized the initiative on the battlefield. In Ukraine, settlements are beginning to occur after a failed counteroffensive.

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