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Mali: who are the mercenaries of the Wagner group that the Kremlin says it does not know?

Mali: who are the mercenaries of the Wagner group that the Kremlin says it does not know?

A few weeks ago, faced with the gradual withdrawal of French troops, Mali announced, through the voice of its Prime Minister, to explore other avenues for its security. The option of a paramilitary group then appeared, the Russian group Wagner, which has already been talked about in Ukraine, Syria and Libya. And that Moscow says it does not know …

The few thousand Russian mercenaries in the Wagner group are capable of changing the course of a conflict, yet the Kremlin claims not to know them. The first time the group made headlines was in Ukraine, six years ago, by appearing in the camp of pro-Russian rebels. From that moment on, these mercenaries will play a decisive role in several countries at war, such as Syria, where they are alongside Bashar al-Assad’s men.

Soon they may find themselves in Mali, where French troops will gradually withdraw. During the week of October 4 to 10, Malians expressed their joy, displaying Russian flags. The junta is in fact negotiating a contract with the Wagner group. “What Russia is doing is provoking France and the United States, sending small teams, knowing that they will react”, explains Sergei Sukhankin, researcher at the Jamestown Foundation. For Westerners, Wagner’s mercenaries are infrequent, accused in particular of abuses in Syria.

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