Are neo-Nazi Russian groups planning attacks on NATO countries? - report

New developments suggest that the Kremlin may lose ties with far-right paramilitary organizations.

 NATO HEADS of states and governments look at a digital installation after posing for a photo during the NATO summit at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels in June 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE/FILE PHOTO)
NATO HEADS of states and governments look at a digital installation after posing for a photo during the NATO summit at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels in June 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE/FILE PHOTO)

A Kremlin-linked neo-Nazi paramilitary group requested that its members provide any intelligence they have regarding the border and military activities of NATO member countries Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, according to a Sunday report from The Guardian.

The report cites the "Task Force Rusich" Telegram channel, which is also linked to the Wagner group and is fighting against Ukrainian forces in their ongoing war with Russia since late February. The Wagner group is currently trying to capture the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the report stated.

Rusich's request may be the result of dissatisfaction with how the war in Ukraine is going, suggesting that the Kremlin could lose ties with far-right paramilitary organizations, according to the report.

Why are they interested in the requested information?

Observing activity from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania prompts the question of whether the neo-Nazi paramilitary group is planning attacks on other NATO countries.

It should be noted that the amount of oversight from Wagner to Rusich is unclear, despite interactions between the two being documented in recent months.

 Visitors pose for a picture outside 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 (credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK) Visitors pose for a picture outside 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 (credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK)

The US Treasury Department in September said they were imposing sanctions on Rusich.

What is the Wagner mercenary group?

The Wagner group reportedly first emerged in 2014 during the conflict in Crimea. Its mercenaries have fought in northern and sub-Saharan Africa as well as in Syria to help President Bashar Assad's regime.

Last month, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the mercenary group head, gave a sledgehammer covered in fake blood to a European Parliament representative last month after an initiative to designate the PMC as a terrorist organization.