Patriot paramilitary group spotted near Donetsk, Ukrainian military says
The mercenaries of the Patriot group are known for their closeness to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Until now, only the Wagner group of the sulphurous businessman Evguéni Prigojine, was known to be active on Ukrainian territory. Spokesman for the Eastern Grouping of Ukrainian Armed Forces, Serhiy Cherevaty, however, said the group “Patriotwas also spotted in the Donetsk region, according to Ukrainian online media Ukrayinska Pravda.
Serhiy Cherevaty claims that this private paramilitary group was seen near Vuhledar. “In particular, in the Stepne area on the Vuhledar front, we noticed that in addition to Wagner PMC [Private Military Company – NDLR]Patriot PMC, affiliated with the current Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, appeared“, did he declare, “obviously they pull all combat abilities to get at least some results“. The mercenaries of the Patriot group are known for their closeness to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and more broadly to the GRU, Russian intelligence.
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Two competing groups?
Like members of the Wagner group, members of the paramilitary group Patriot have reportedly been deployed for several years in Africa and the Middle East. In his intervention, Serhiy Cherevaty described the two groups as “competitors“, while specifying that they evolve on different “theaters of war» and that there is no interaction between them. The influence of businessman Yevgeny Prigojine, founder of Wagner, has grown since the start of the conflict, while Russian military operations in Ukraine, led by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, have come up against the tenacious resistance of the Ukrainian army.
However, a Russian source, who recently confided in the Figaro while maintaining anonymity, rather made the opposite observation, and affirmed that “it is (…) proven that Prigojine maintains relations of trust with the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu“. Similarly, this interlocutor emphasized on the contrary that “the interactions of the Wagner group with the GRU seem dense“. Indeed, many Wagner executives would be GRU alumni. Wagner, who has swelled his ranks considerably since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, is made up of many convicts.
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