The Wagner group is quietly recruiting new mercenaries, despite officially having declared a pause on bringing in new fighters, reports say.
The group’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, last month said Wagner had enough recruits and claimed that the group was only operating in Africa and Belarus.
However, Important Stories found messages in different Telegram chats where Russian "volunteers" communicate, indicating that the group plans to resume recruitment in August.
Shortly after finding these messages, the newspaper's correspondent approached a former mercenary who agreed to speak to the journalist anonymously.
The mercenary revealed that Wagner recruitment had resumed through the Orthodox sports club "Desantnik" in Omsk, Russia, and a military company location in Novosibirsk.
Undercover as a volunteer, a correspondent from the media outlet contacted both centers. When inquiring at "Desantnik," they were informed that Wagner had been banned from recruiting within Russia.
But the at the Novosibirsk veterans' organization, "Power Unity of Siberia," the official representative of Wagner in the city, stated that new recruitment of volunteers occurs on Fridays.
Candidates were required to have specific qualifications, including a military specialty, an international passport, no criminal record, no chronic diseases and no debts.
While the main focus of recruitment was for missions in African countries, claims of involvement in the conflict zone in Ukraine also surfaced.
Although recruiters did not confirm sending mercenaries to Ukraine, a journalist from Important Stories received an offer from Wagner, specifically the Redut company, which is linked to Gazprom.
The offer involved deployment to the "Special Military Operation zone" without a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Earlier reports indicated that the Russian Defense Ministry required all "volunteer formations" to sign contracts with them by July 1. State Duma deputy Maxim Ivanov claimed that Redut had indeed signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense.
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