Much of Redut Private Military Company's (PMC)s operations are veiled in secrecy, but independent investigations discovered its direct connections to Russia’s intelligence directorate (GRU).

Redut, which was involved in the Kremlin’s attempts to topple Kyiv in February 2022, is likely used by the GRU as a recruitment front for its combat units in Ukraine, according to an independent investigation under Radio Free Europe.

The joint investigation, conducted by the Ukraine-based Skhemy project and the Russian media Sistema, uncovered documents that confirmed the GRU’s role in recruiting fighters for more than 20 Russian armed formations with tens of thousands of troops through Redut.

Testimonies from captured Russian fighters corroborated the claims, according to the investigation. The investigation also discovered that fighters under the Redut banner signed contracts with false legal entitles and received payments from the Russian Ministry of Defense.

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With Wagner out of the picture after Prigozhin’s mutiny and potential assassination, Redut is widely believed to be Wagner’s successor, but a source from Ukraine’s intelligence denied the claims.

“The ‘Redut’ [PMC] has not taken an active part in hostilities in connection with the redistribution of spheres of influence after the ‘death’ of Prigozhin,” said the source. However, according to the source, Ukrainian intelligence is aware of Redut’s active role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, noting that “part of [its] assault and blocking detachments were noted in separate directions” under the supervision of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of Russia.

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The source also pointed out Redut’s involvement in war crimes against civilians and prisoners of war, but they are smaller in scale compared to the Wagner group.

Not much is known about the early days of Redut, but it’s believed that it was created to provide security services for factories owned by Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko, a former KGB officer and a close ally of Putin. According to a BBC interview, Redut is also likely connected to Gazprom, a major Russian energy corporation.

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According to a British parliament inquiry, it is believed that Redut is designated STG SHIELD in operational reports. An anonymous source at the inquiry also named one K. Merzoyants as the head of Redut, but Kyiv Post is unable to ascertain the identity of the individual.

According to British intelligence, it is “highly likely” that Redut has over 7,000 personnel. It’s possible that Russia is recruiting mercenaries under the guise of “volunteers” through Redut — instead of regular conscripts – to “[avoid] further unpopular mobilizations.” This might be Russia’s attempt to replenish its forces in Ukraine while preventing social unrest ahead of its presidential election in March 2024.

According to the same report, Russia has been using PMCs and the Volunteer Corps to augment its regular fighting forces in Ukraine.

Putin does not recognize the legitimacy of PMCs in Russia, claiming that these companies do not exist because “there is no law on private military companies,” as reported by TASS, Russia’s state-owned news agency.

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