The Russian paramilitary Wagner Group registered as a legal entity, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry. The Wagner Group, or PMC Wagner, is a Russian paramilitary organization filled primarily with mercenaries, and reported to be a de-facto private military with close ties to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
In a Defense Intelligence Update, the UK Defense Ministry said Friday, that “On 27 December 2022, the Russian Unified State Register showed that the proxy paramilitary Wagner Group had formally registered as a legal entity. The group declared their core activity as ‘management consultancy’; no mention was made of combat services.”
The Defense Ministry noted that it is not yet clear to what extent the ‘PMC Wagner Centre’ entity will be used to administer Wagner’s paramilitary activity.
“Private Military Companies (MCs) remain illegal in Russia, despite protracted discussion about reforming the law,” the Ministry said, adding that, “Wagner’s owner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has likely partially funded the organisation via inflated government contracts awarded to his other companies.”
The Defense Ministry commented that the registration continues the remarkably rapid development of the traditionally opaque group’s public profile, as Prigozhin only admitted to founding Wagner in September 2022 and in October 2022, it opened a headquarters in St Petersburg.
“Wagner almost certainly now commands up to 50,000 fighters in Ukraine and has become a key component of the Ukraine campaign. The registration likely aims to maximise Prigozhin’s commercial gain and to further legitimise the increasingly high-profile organisation,” the Defense Ministry update continued.