How African gold pays for Russia’s war in Ukraine – by Brian Latham (The Spectator – February 12, 2023)

African wars are paying for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at least indirectly. When Vladimir Putin was running low on manpower and money in October last year, he turned to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner group for more of both. Wagner have had troops in the Donbas region as far back as 2014, though in limited numbers.

Now the Wagner group is providing thousands of troops throughout occupied Ukraine and funding the Russian army with its spoils from Africa. That though is creating a cashflow crisis for Prigozhin whose income is primarily from African gold and diamonds.

Wagner makes its money by hiring itself out to African leaders who are fighting jihadis, rebels and other insurgents. In the dysfunctional, war-ravaged Central African Republic, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra hired Wagner to protect him from rebel groups who’ve torn the small country to shreds, and to keep the rebels out of the capital Bangui.

Wagner mainly ‘defend’ the country’s gold mines while robbing the CAR’s treasury of much needed revenue. The group has also been accused of dealing in so-called blood diamonds that still pour through the region.

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