The Wagner Group private military company has surrendered more than 2,000 pieces of military hardware to Russia’s military inventory, the country’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. The transfer process is going “according to plan” and is nearing completion.
- The inventory includes hundreds of heavy weaponry pieces, including main battle tanks of various types, multiple rocket launcher systems, self-propelled and towed artillery, anti-aircraft systems, and other combat vehicles, the ministry said in a statement. The military also released a video, showing rows of tracked and wheeled combat vehicles, as well as other equipment kept at undisclosed locations.
Dozens of combat vehicles transferred by the PMC group “have never been used in a combat environment,” the military noted.
- The group also surrendered over 2,500 tons of assorted ammunition as well as around 20,000 firearms.
The equipment is currently being transferred to rear field sites for maintenance, the ministry stated. Afterwards, it will be transferred to Russian military units for its “intended use,” the ministry concluded.
The Wagner Group, a private military company, has seen extensive action amid the ongoing hostilities with Ukraine. Its leader, Evgeny Prigozhin, ended up becoming entangled in a public conflict with the Defense Ministry, repeatedly accusing it of withholding supplies from the group. The conflict was apparently aggravated by an ongoing effort to incorporate loose volunteer groups, active in the formerly Ukrainian Donbass for years already, into Russia’s military structure.
- It culminated in a short-lived mutiny staged by the group in late June. Prigozhin accused the Defense Ministry of launching deadly strikes on a Wagner camp, vowing retaliation, and capturing within hours several military installations in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, while some forces marched on Moscow.
The group’s leader ultimately backed down the next day, with the mediation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Under the deal, Moscow agreed to drop the criminal case against the Wagner chief, with Prigozhin himself consenting to move to Belarus.