Updated Jun 28, 2023, 2:14pm EDT

Insights: Wagner Group’s mutiny may mean chaos for global operations

Men speak inside 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. REUTERS/Igor Russak/File Photo
REUTERS/Igor Russak/File Photo

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The News

Wagner Group’s rebellion in Russia may have knock-on consequences in other regions where the mercenary organization operates. The paramilitary group has a presence in countries around the world, and is particularly active in Africa, where it is using its presence to pillage natural resources and fund its operations elsewhere.

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Know More

Wagner mercenaries are inextricably linked to CAR, where they have had a presence since 2018. The country has been described as a “perfect laboratory” for what Wagner, and by extension the Kremlin, are capable of in the region.

The Financial Times reported in 2021 that Wagner operates with impunity in CAR, with one senior security official in Bangui describing the situation there as “a shit show.”

We’ve curated insightful analysis on how Russia’s takeover of Wagner might spell trouble for Africa.

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  • Semafor’s Alexis Akwagyiram wrote on Tuesday that some African countries, including Mali and the Central African Republic, are facing major destabilization as a result of Wagner’s absorption into the Russian military. Both countries are at risk of falling into crises which spill over neighboring borders and Russian President Vladimir Putin will prioritize stabilizing his own country before offering assistance in Africa.
  • Last month, Marat Gabidullin, a former Wagner commander in Syria, said a civil war would break out in CAR if the paramilitary group pulled out of the country, and that he isn’t sure if the organization will survive without Prigozhin at the helm. — The Wall Street Journal
  • Wagner’s extensive African operations have given it the ability to “cannibalize” the resources of states where it has a presence, Naureen Fink of the U.S.-based Soufan Center said in a recent interview. “There needs to be closer attention on who gets control of these resources, and if or how they lead to greater influence and access for the Kremlin directly,” she said. — Voice of America