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Russian friendly fire ‘obliterates own men’ as Wagner tank destroyed

Ukraine’s military intelligence has intercepted a phone call from the front lines in the ongoing conflict between Russian and Ukrainian troops. The call, which reportedly took place between a Russian soldier and his father, suggests Russian troops accidentally destroyed a tank belonging to Wagner mercenaries in a friendly fire incident.

According to the intercepted conversation, the soldier describes chaos on the frontlines.

He is heard saying: “We were aiming at them. We obliterated their tank and a Tiger [armoured vehicle] before realising they were our own men.”

The soldier also mentions that Wagner, a private military contractor owned by a close ally of Vladimir Putin, had incurred heavy losses in Ukraine, but the Russian defence ministry is not documenting them.

The validity of the call could not be verified instantly, but Ukraine has a history of intercepting Russian communications on unprotected channels.

Wagner group tank destroyed in friendly fire, according to leaked callWagner group tank destroyed in friendly fire, according to leaked call (Image: Getty)

Ukraine frequently intercepts Russian communications on unencrypted lines.Ukraine frequently intercepts Russian communications on unencrypted lines. (Image: Getty)

Wagner forces are actively engaged in many of the bloodiest battles in eastern Ukraine, with the private contractors plugging the large manpower shortage suffered by the regular Russian military.

Recruiting convicts from Russian prisoners has swelled Wagner’s ranks in recent months.

Express.co.uk recently spoke with the commander of the Ukrainian army’s Georgian Legion about his experience facing Wagner fighters on the frontline.

Speaking from the war zone, Mamuka Mamulashvili told Express.co.uk: “At the beginning of the war Wagner was more professional but most of them were destroyed.

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At this time, the terroristic company has only prisoners as mercenaries, who are not professionals.

“They have no combat experience, actually no experience of holding a weapon at all.”

Mamulashvili also boasted of recent battlefield victories over Wagner, he told Express.co.uk: “Recently the Georgian Legion liquidated a Wagner unit of sixteen men.

“Those guys were in an intelligence unit, the most recent was an 11-man group that was killed by the Georgian Legion. They were also Wagner Group who were also intelligence and planning an attack on a Ukrainian position.”

Russia vs Ukraine: Military powerRussia vs Ukraine: Military power (Image: Express)

It has been reported that Wagner, a Russian private military company, has been recruiting former prisoners to fight in Ukraine.

According to the Washington Post, the United States estimates that Wagner has a total of 50,000 troops in Ukraine, with 40,000 of them being convicts recruited from prisons.

Other sources also indicate this recruitment of convicts, for instance, one Russian magazine has reported that Wagner is recruiting convicts from inside St. Petersburg prisons, promising them 200,000 rubles (£2,400) for six months and freedom if they survive the conflict.

Moreover, Wagner has also tried to recruit inmates from prisons in the Central African Republic.

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