Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration has instructed state-controlled media to cease reporting on crimes committed by Wagner soldiers, according to the independent Russian online newspaper Meduza.
This move comes after multiple instances where Russian media, including those approved by the regime, reported on violations by returning Wagner soldiers.
The Wagner Group has been recruiting thousands of inmates from Russian prisons to fight in Ukraine. In exchange, many of these inmates are offered pardons for the sentences they are serving.
Media around the world have reported on the serious crimes committed by Wagner soldiers in Ukraine.
Kremlin's first-time directive
Two unnamed sources close to the Kremlin told Meduza that this is the first time such a directive has been issued.
"Crime always drives traffic, and mentioning the military special operation (the war in Ukraine) gets more clicks," said one of Meduza's sources.
The aim of the instruction is to prevent Russians from fearing soldiers returning from Ukraine.
This comes as a significant change in the Kremlin's stance, as even state-controlled media had previously reported on the crimes committed by these soldiers.