Ukrainian Security Service has established the participation of Wagner's mercenaries in the conflict in Donbas since 2014. This was stated during a briefing broadcasted by 112 Ukraine, by the head of SSU Vasyl Hrytsak said.
To date, 1587 members of the Wagner group have been identified from more than 5,000 mercenaries. Training base of Wagner group is located in Krasnodar Territory of the Russian Federation, where there are 10 brigades of special purpose of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Main Directorate.
Concerning the head of the group, Dmitry Utkin, a notification of suspicion to him has already been prepared. Details of the accusations prepared against him are not known yet.
Hrytsak noted that Ukraine considers the mercenaries of the Wagner group as the fighters of the Russian Armed Forces. This happens due to the innovations in Russian military legislation. In particular, since the winter of last year, it was decided that people who carry out duties to suppress terrorist activities hired abroad are ranked by the status of Russian military.
"On December 28, 2016, amendments were made to the legislation of Russia, which allowed non-servicemen to be involved in military tasks concerning the suppression of terrorist activities outside of Russia, while these persons are considered to be those who fulfill the duties of military service ... thus from December 28, 2016 we consider the members of the private military campaign Wagner servicemen of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation," Hrytsak said.
The Wagner Group, is a Russian private military company that has fought on the side of the Syrian government during the Syrian Civil War. Between 2014 and 2015, they also fought in the War in Donbas against the Ukrainian pro-government forces. In addition, they were involved in the 2014 Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. The contractors have been described as "ghost soldiers", due to the Russian government not officially acknowledging them.
According to the SSU, the Wagner mercenaries are involved in the tragedy of IL-76, the storming of the Luhansk airport and Debaltseve.