Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner Group almost certainly now commands up to 50,000 fighters in Ukraine and has become a key component of the Ukraine campaign, the UK’s Defense Intelligence wrote on Twitter on Jan. 20.
On Dec. 27, 2022, the Russian Unified State Register showed that the proxy paramilitary Wagner Group had formally registered as a legal entity, UK intelligence said.
The group declared their core activity as “management consultancy,” no mention was made of combat services.
“It is not yet clear to what extent the ‘PMC Wagner Centre’ entity will be used to administer Wagner’s paramilitary activity,” the department said in its daily summary.
“Private Military Companies remain illegal in Russia, despite protracted discussion about reforming the law.”
The agency noted that Wagner’s owner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has likely partially funded the organisation via inflated government contracts awarded to his other companies.
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“The registration likely aims to maximise Prigozhin’s commercial gain and to further legitimise the increasingly high-profile organisation,” reads the report.
Earlier Ukrainian Military intelligence spokesman Andrii Cherniak said Prigozhin seeks to strengthen his influence in the entourage of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin due to unsuccessful efforts to capture the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.