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Russia“s Wagner group denies recruiting Serbs to fight in Ukraine


An interior view shows PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022. REUTERS/Igor Russak/File Photo

Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group on Friday denied it was recruiting Serbs to fight in Ukraine, a day after activists filed criminal complaints against the organisation in Belgrade.

Among those named in the complaints were Russia’s ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, and Aleksandar Vulin, head of Serbia’s state Security and Information Agency.

“I do not recruit Serbs,” Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a statement, saying he had never head of either Botsan-Kharchenko or Vulin.

Earlier this week Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Russia should halt its efforts to recruit Serbs to fight alongside Wagner forces. He said Russian websites and social media groups were publishing advertisements in the Serbian language in which the Wagner group called for volunteers.

The United States said on Friday it was imposing fresh sanctions on the Wagner Group, accusing it of delivering North Korean arms into Russia for use in the Ukraine conflict, which Wagner denies, and of recruiting Russian prisoners to fight.