In the coming weeks the Russian mercenary group Wagner could lose most of the prisoners it recruited into its ranks as their six-month military contracts expire.
Analysis by the UK’s Institute for the Study of War noted that the UK’s defence ministry estimates that thousands of convicts that were recruited in the autumn of 2022 will be pardoned and released, in keeping with a promise by the head of Wagner.
And the Ministry of Defence predicts that will significantly weaken Wagner, which is already struggling after the Kremlin banned it from recruiting any more prisoners.
For months the group has been fighting in a bloody battle for Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine of little strategic value but of increasingly symbolic importance.
To listen to Sasha Vakulina’s full report, please click on the player icon above.