According to a video statement made by the leader of the Russian mercenary outfit Wagner, the first batch of Russian inmates who were granted amnesty in exchange for fighting in Ukraine has been freed. These individuals were held captive in Russia.
In the video, which was produced and distributed by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti, Yevgeny Prigozhin can be heard telling a group of guys, "You've worked through your contract. You carried out your duties in a respectable and honorable manner."
After finishing their six-month contracts in Ukraine, Prigozhin said that the men "should be regarded with the deepest respect by society." Prigozhin's comments were made public.
"Don't drink a lot, don't do drugs, don't rape women, do not get up to no good," he continued.
The Wagner Group, which was initially composed of combat-seasoned veterans of the Russian armed services, has seen action in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, and Mali, in addition to the latter three countries.
The video was discovered after Zambia condemned Russia for its role in the death of a Zambian student who was serving a jail term in Russia at the time of his death on the battlefield in Ukraine. The student had been awarded amnesty for his participation in the conflict in Ukraine.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Wagner Group, which was funded by the Russian tycoon Prigozhin, also known as "Putin's chef," existed in the shadows. Prigozhin was the creator of the Wagner Group.
An exiled whistleblower who fought for the organization named Marat Gabidullin claimed that Wagner exists to shift power away from the military and exploit people who may become a security danger.
However, since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Wagner mercenaries have been at the forefront of the conflict, assuming a new face in public.
In September, a video that seemed to show a guy who resembled Prigozhin giving contracts to convicts to participate in the conflict in Ukraine went viral. The video was filmed in the courtyard of a jail.
However, the contracts included a lengthy list of stipulations.
The unidentified guy says in the video, "If you come to Ukraine and decide that it is not for you, we would treat it as desertion and we will kill you. Any questions, guys?"
"No one gives themselves up," he stated, adding that trainees have to carry explosives with them if they are taken captive.
"Should you pass away, your remains will be returned to the location that you specified on the registration form."
There was no way to confirm whether or not the individual on the video was Prigozhin, but his employer, Concord, did not refute the possibility that it was him.
According to the information provided by Concord, he was quoted as stating, "Of course, if I were a prisoner, I would dream of joining this friendly squad to be able to not only redeem my debt to the Motherland but also to return it with interest."