1 Wagner PMC; one of Putin's private shadow armies
Despite there being laws forbidding private military corporations to exist in Russia, there have been increased reports of Russian mercenaries fighting in conflicts in which Russia is involved. In 2014 the Wagner we know today emerged in the fighting on the side of the DPR and LPR in the Donbass area in Eastern Ukraine. They were seen fighting in the Battle of Debaltseve suffering somewhere between 70 and 120 casualties there. From then on Wagner PMC was believed to be the brute fighting force in places where Russia needed plausible deniability for it's often illegal actions. Wagner forces were also involved in the Battle of Palmyra in Syria where they suffered between 230-300 casualties. By their own account they did the brunt of the fighting and thought the SAA were 'worthless' and 'cowards'.