Russian paramilitary group the Wagner Group is coaching Ukrainian youngsters to battle for Russia and kill Ukrainians, in keeping with an adviser to the exiled mayor of Mariupol.
A struggle evaluation revealed Thursday by the U.S.-based suppose tank Institute for the Research of Warfare (ISW) identified that Petro Andryushenko, adviser to Ukrainian Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko, had shared a video to Telegram on the identical day that purportedly reveals Wagner Group mercenaries “as soon as once more” coaching Ukrainian youngsters to kill their very own.
The 22-second video, which has not been independently verified by Newsweek, seems to indicate a number of youngsters coaching with assault rifles in a room whereas males sporting navy fatigues that function Russian flag patches stand by. It’s not clear when or the place the video was taken.
“The Wagnerites performed a coaching session for members of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s neo-pioneer Yunarmiya [Young Army],” Andryushenko wrote whereas sharing the video. “The right way to battle the enemy. Concretely – with Ukrainians. The apotheosis of navy crime.”
Greater than a yr after Putin determined to launch the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the struggle has taken a devastating toll on the kids of Ukraine.
Along with the greater than 500 youths killed in the course of the struggle, in keeping with the United Nations (UN) human rights workplace, tens of millions extra have been compelled to flee their properties.
Those that have remained have suffered resulting from entry to primary providers usually being unavailable and poverty charges practically doubling, in keeping with the United Nations Kids’s Fund (UNICEF).
The video shared by Andryushenko on Thursday means that the scenario may very well be far worse for kids in Russia-occupied areas, which embody Mariupol.
1000’s of Ukrainian youngsters have been kidnapped by Russia-aligned forces in the course of the struggle and deported to Russia or areas of Ukraine managed by Moscow.
A big variety of the kids have been adopted by Russian households, turning into Russian residents and being compelled to attend camps the place they obtain “patriotic training,” in keeping with the Related Press.
Final month, the Worldwide Prison Courtroom issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of being “accountable for the struggle crime of illegal deportation of inhabitants (youngsters) and that of illegal switch of inhabitants (youngsters) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
In the meantime, the Wagner Group has been accused of committing a mess of atrocities over the course of the practically 14-month struggle.
An ISW evaluation revealed this week stated that the Wagner Group’s mercenaries had reportedly beheaded Ukrainian troops and positioned their heads on spikes close to the embattled metropolis of Bakhmut.
The non-public navy group, based by Russian financier Yevgeny Prigozhin, additionally allegedly made not less than 100 Russian troopers “disappear” not too long ago after they refused to signal contracts to hitch Wagner, in keeping with ISW.
Newsweek has reached out to the Wagner Group through electronic mail for remark.