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British intelligence: Wagner group mercenaries have likely been folded into Russian national guard


British intelligence said Sunday it believes “large elements” of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group have likely been reassigned to serve in the Russian National Guard — the Rosgvardiya — and the mercenary group has “resumed active recruitment.”

An arm of Wagner within the Rosgvardiya is “likely led by Pavel Prigozhin, son of the late Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin,” according to an intelligence update publicized by the British Ministry of Defense.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led a brief rebellion against the Russian military earlier this year, is presumed to have died in August in a plane crash north of Moscow.

The fate of the Mercenary group has been in question during the months since, amid reports that some of its fighters have resumed work for the Russian government overseas or for other countries, including Belarus.

The British intelligence update on Sunday said that in addition to Wagner elements likely becoming active in the Rosgvardiya, other “groups of Wagner fighters have highly likely joined another Russian [private military company], Redut.”

The update cited an investigation by Radio Free Europe, a U.S. government-backed news organization, as concluding that Redut has 7,000 personnel in its ranks.

At the same time, the update said that “on 1 November 2023, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov stated that Wagner Group medics had joined Chechen Akhmat special forces.” Mr. Kadyrov has previously stated that “170 former Wagner fighters had already joined Akhmat,” the British intelligence assessment said.

“The Russian state is now exercising more direct control of Wagner Group activities and former personnel following the mutiny in July 2023 and subsequent death of Wagner’s leadership in August 2023,” it said.

• Guy Taylor can be reached at

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