The Wagner mercenary group is apparently gaining increasing influence in Russia. In the Donetsk region of Ukraine, she is said to be in charge of important battles, and in some cases even to command the Russian army. But for their attacks, they are now apparently dependent on North Korean equipment.

According to US information, the Russian mercenary group Wagner has received weapons from North Korea for use in Ukraine. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said: He thus confirmed a report by the Reuters news agency. The latter had previously reported, citing high-ranking American government circles, that North Korea had delivered “missiles for use by the infantry” last month.

According to the insider, the amount of material delivered is not enough to change the course of the war in Ukraine. “However, we are concerned about North Korea’s plans to supply more war material to Wagner,” the Reuters report said. Kirby confirmed this assessment and said North Korea violated UN sanctions with the deliveries.

It was reported for the first time in September that Russia was buying ammunition from North Korea, citing US intelligence services. A US official stated that they are suspected to be short-range missiles and artillery shells. The unusual deal was seen as a success of Western sanctions. The new agreement with North Korea shows the desperation in Moscow, said Western military observers.

According to the new report, Russian President Vladimir Putin is now pinning high hopes on the Wagner Group, owned by his ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, in his attack on Ukraine. He spends more than $100 million per month to finance the mission.

Prigozhin’s influence in Russia is increasing, the senior American insider said. Wagner is increasingly acting independently of the Russian Ministry of Defense. “For months, the Russian military has relied on Wagner to direct fighting in parts of the Donbass,” he said. In certain cases, Russian military are under the command of Wagner. “It is evident that Wagner is becoming a rival center of power for the Russian military and other Russian ministries.”

After several months of war, the mercenary army is said to still be up to 50,000 strong. However, only 10,000 of them are long-time combatants, the report said. The majority of the mercenaries are said to be around 40,000 recruits from Russian prisons.

In the past few weeks, the Wagner group has been deployed primarily in the Donetsk region. There, the mercenaries are said to have suffered heavy losses of around 1,000 fighters in the battles for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. The US data cannot be independently verified. Statements from Russia and North Korea are not available.