Reports have indicated that more than 400 mercenaries from the barbarous, Russian-backed Wagner Group have been deployed to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, with the mission of assassinating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other government leaders.
The Wagner Group, which was supposedly flown in five weeks ago, is reported to have a hit list of 23 prominent figures, including President Zelensky, Ukraine’s prime minister, the cabinet, Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir, who both have joined the military fight against the Russian forces.
However, according to a senior US defense official, the reconnaissance forces in Kyiv are not confirmed to have been ordered to assassinate Zelensky.
The Wagner Group was founded by Dmitry Utkiny, a former member of the Russian intelligence agency, GRU. It is reportedly owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, one of Putin’s closest allies.
Prigozhin has acquired the nickname “Putin’s chef” because he runs a catering business that provides its services to the Kremlin.
In February of 2021, Prigozhin was added to the FBI’s wanted list, offering up to $250,000 for information that leads to an arrest. The Kremlin-linked businessman has been accused of “conspiracy to defraud the United States” after sponsoring the Internet Research Agency that allegedly carried out an online campaign to influence US elections and politics.
Although Vladimir Putin has denied any influence over the private army-for-hire, phone records have revealed that Wagner’s supposed boss, Prigozhin, made 99 calls to Putin’s chief of staff over the span of eight months. The Russian President has also been pictured at events with the Wagner troops, among them Dmitry Utkin.
Despite Putin’s consistent denial, this highly-dangerous militia group is considered to be at the Kremlin’s disposal. It has previously carried out black ops across Africa, including Syria, Mozambique, the Central African Republic, and Libya, where the private army committed war crimes in, tortured and killed to further the Kremlin’s agenda.
While the killers-for-hire were moving through Africa, the US and France said they were responsible for raping and robbing unarmed citizens.
Putin’s use of this private military company could allow him to avoid being held responsible if Zelensky is killed.
One source has reported that these mercenaries have been instructed to stand down temporarily while Putin holds peace talks this week with Zelensky. They have also alleged that Putin is not interested in reaching a deal, and is only holding the meeting on the Belarus border for show.
A former commander of Joint Forces Command, General Sir Richard Barrons, elaborated on the dangers of this militia group, saying, “They are very effective because they are hard to pin down.”
“They can appear from the shadows, do very violent things and then disappear again, without it being obvious who was responsible,” added Barrons. “They are not directly linked to the Russian government and therefore they are plausibly deniable.”
The presence of these operatives prompted Kyiv to order a 36-hour ‘hard’ curfew so the Ukrainian soldiers could sweep the streets for Russian saboteurs.
Dr. James Anderson, former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, told Fox News Digital that he thinks “it’s wise that the mayor of Kyiv, the territorial defense forces are instituting these curfews at night because they’re reducing the possibility that the un-uniformed Wagner personnel can blend in with the local populous.”
“I think the international legal community is probably working on a variety of briefs already in respect to Putin’s naked aggression in Ukraine and could imagine that they could be following the Wagner Group and reports of war crimes very closely,” added Anderson. “This will become a part of the story moving forward.”