Redut in spotlight replacing Wagner in Ukraine, helping Russia avoid mobilization: UK

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Russia has used Redut private military company to replace Wagner personnel participation in the war on Ukraine, allowing Moscow to avoid another wave of mobilization, the UK defense ministry reported on Monday.

“The purported Private Military Company (PMC) Redut is recruiting mercenaries under the guise of ‘volunteers’, including former Wagner personnel. The Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) likely supervises and finances the group’s activities, including its recruitment,” the British ministry said in a war update.

It added: “Since the start of the invasion, Redut has been involved in combat operations in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Luhansk oblasts. The group highly likely has over 7,000 personnel.”

The British report stated: “At present, Redut is one of a number of PMCs and Volunteer Corps units being utilized by the Russian Ministry of Defense to augment Russian regular forces. It is a realistic possibility that the Russian Ministry of Defense’s practice of recruiting through ‘volunteer’ units has contributed to Russia avoiding further unpopular mobilizations.”

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Regarding mobilization, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said earlier this month that fall conscription will be carried out according to plan and within the timeframe established by law, with 130,000 people being drafted to the armed forces. However, the “General Staff has no plans for additional mobilization. The armed forces have the necessary number of servicemen to carry out the special military operation,” as cited by state news agency TASS.

As for Redut PMC, it is one of several private military firms operating in Russia with a growing international presence. It became infamous for providing military support to various parties in involved in conflicts in the Middle East like Syria and Libya. It offers a range of services, including combat training, security consulting, and logistical support, primarily catering to governments and non-state actors.

Redut was established in 2008 by President Vladimir Putin-linked oligarch and former KGB agent Gennady Timchenko to safeguard his gas empire. It enjoys complete backing from the Russian defense ministry and has been active mainly in Syria, according to the think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

ASPI stated: “Redut played a major role in the Ukrainian invasion, suffering substantial losses. Leveraging [former Wagner chief Yevgeny] Prigozhin’s unsuccessful rebellion, the company has recruited former Wagner members. Redut is now the Russian military’s preferred private army, emblematic of the evolving complexity of its grey-zone operations. It highlights the growing ties between the oil and gas sector, conflict and Russian foreign policy. The company will use grey-zone tactics to extend the influence of Russia.”

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