Home LAST NEWS Paramilitary group “Wagner”: what is this Russian militia currently raging in Mali?

Paramilitary group “Wagner”: what is this Russian militia currently raging in Mali?


For several months the French media have been talking about the presence in Mali of the paramilitary group Wagner. This company specializing in mercenarism is close to the Russian power, although no official link has been established.

The Wagner group, a true private militia, was founded by Dmitry Utkin in the years 2012. To date, very little public information is available. It was in 2013 that the man appeared for the first time alongside mercenaries in Syria.

In the same wake, the Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin would also lead the group. Yevgeny Prigozhin is also known as “Putin’s cook”. He started in the restoration in 1990 and would have approached Vladimir Poutine from year to year. According to RFIthe man would finance several projects affiliated with the Russian government.

Opaque links with the Kremlin

The Wagner group is suspected by many international observers of working in connection with the army and of supporting Russian interests in the countries in which it is present. This group allows Russia “to benefit from a local presence, while offering it the possibility of playing the ‘plausible deniability’ card”, explains the site. School of Economic Warfare.

Their intervention techniques are criticized, considered very violent. In the Central African Republic, their role boils down to holding strategic points and mining sites. The link with the Russian government is not clearly demonstrated, but the leaders of the group would have been “decorated in the Kremlin and its mercenaries are trained in the facilities of the Russian Ministry of Defense”, reports the New York Times. The group’s annual budget is estimated at $30 million by experts.

“Wagner exploits inter-community divisions”

Currently, in Mali 450 men of Wagner would be present on the ground. A camp with Russian armor and a helicopter were observed. The group would advance as the French army retreated. Documents from the French intelligence services consulted by European 1 account for more than 200 abuses committed in 2021 in the Central African Republic. “Looting, theft, illegal occupation of homes, arbitrary arrests, torture, rape, summary executions“, the list is long according to our colleagues.

“Wagner exploits the intercommunity divisions between the Fulani, Muslim and Christian populations to act with complete impunity and strengthen its base”, analyzes the French information in these documents.