Reports 28/09/2023

Wagner Group Unchained in Ukraine

“Wagner Group Unchained in Ukraine” that analyzes the impact of Wagner Group from three dimensions military, political and human rights. It is based on fieldwork conducted between March and June.

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Publication date


Collaborating entities

Suds, ICIP, ODHE i Shock Monitor


Felip Daza Sierra, Carlos Díaz Bodoque, Anhelina Hrytsei i Mathilde Veronique Machteld Romeo

This report was also presented at the United Nations headquarters on August 1st in New York City as part of the working session of the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries.

The research includes testimonies from 40 experts, institutions, and Civil Society Organizations from the academic and human rights fields. Military personnel involved in operations on the Ukrainian side were also interviewed. The presence of the Wagner Group in Ukraine has dramatically escalated the gravity of the conflict, exacerbating mortality rates, intensifying confrontation, and leading to the fragmentation of non-state armed actors.

Timeline of key events in the evolution of the Wagner Group since 2014:

The report makes a set of fundamental recommendations.

For international organizations and national governments:

  • Strengthen national regulatory frameworks to oversee Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs), including robust mechanisms for licensing, monitoring, and redress.
  • Create a comprehensive legally binding international instrument to regulate the activities of PMSCs, as well as appropriate standards to prevent human rights violations, protect victims, and ensure effective remedy.
  • Designate the Wagner Group as a terrorist organization and an armed group financed by the Russian Federation.
  • Promote international criminal prosecution, including principles of universal jurisdiction.

For civil society organizations:

  • Improve monitoring and reporting mechanisms on the activities of PMSCs and their intersectional impact on human rights, with special attention to violations of women’s rights.
  • Raise awareness among the general public and conflict-affected communities to distinguish private contractors from regular forces and understand the political and social impact of the privatization of war.
  • Undertake advocacy actions to promote international and national regulations for the control of PMSCs.