Journalists have obtained a report from the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine on the tactics of the Russian Wagner PMC in Ukraine, CNN reported on Jan. 24.
According to the report dated December 2022, unlike mobilized soldiers, Russian mercenary units operating on the Bakhmut section of the front, pose a "unique threat at close quarters" even if they suffer "extraordinary casualties."
The reason for this is that the deaths of Wagner's fighters do not matter to the Kremlin regime or to society in Russia.
In addition, they have no way to retreat without an order from the command, and the soldiers face severe retribution for trying to surrender to the Ukrainian military.
According to an intercepted telephone conversation of one of the mercenaries, such actions are perceived as treason, which may be followed by execution or other punishments, including castration.
The assault units of the Russian PMC consist of mobile groups of about 10 or fewer people, using assault rifles, anti-tank grenade launchers, and drones, which are listed in the Ukrainian intelligence report as a "key element" of their tactics.
The first wave of Wagner's men in the event of an attack consists of convicts, whose losses amount to up to 80% of the personnel, followed by experienced mercenaries with thermal imagers and night vision devices.
If the assaulters manage to take a position, they try to dig in despite their vulnerability due to the open terrain, calling for artillery support for cover.
At the same time, the Ukrainian intel notes the lack of coordination between Wagner and the Russian military, which reduces the mercenaries' potential.
Despite all this, the report states that the PMC’s tactics are "the only ones that are effective for the poorly trained mobilized troops that make up the majority of Russian ground forces," suggesting that the Russian Armed Forces may try to somehow adopt it, which would be a significant change from their traditional reliance on large mechanized units.