Dmitry Utkin med SS-tatovering, leder af den Putin-tro Wagner-gruppe; Foto: Res Publica

Putin forklarede sin invasion med, at han ville ‘afnazificere’ Ukraine, en slet skjult henvisning til Ukraines ‘Azov-bataljon’. Kort efter kom det frem, at han havde indsat en gruppe lejesoldater kaldet Wagner-gruppen. En gruppe der ledes af Dmitry ‘Wagner’ Utkin, en højtdekoreret soldat med flere nazi-tattoveringer. Fra New York Post – Wagner Group, Kremlin-backed mercenaries, reportedly laid groundwork in Ukraine.

“A shadowy group of Kremlin-backed mercenaries who allegedly helped lay the groundwork for the invasion of eastern Ukraine have been accused of some of the worst atrocities around the world. …

In recent weeks, some 300 Russian operatives from Wagner arrived in the separatist enclaves of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine wearing civilian clothes, according to European Union officials cited by the New York Times.

… Although mercenaries are banned under the Russian Criminal Code, state-run firms are allowed to use private armies for their security. There are several such security outfits operating in the country, with the Wagner Group among the most prominent because of its previous involvement in Ukraine in 2014, experts say. …

The Wagner Group was reportedly founded by Dmitry Utkin, a former special forces colonel and veteran of the two wars in Chechnya. The company is named after Utkin’s call sign (‘Wagner’), itself said to be an homage to Adolf Hitler’s favorite opera composer, Richard Wagner. The firm is believed to be owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin…”