How Russia’s Wagner Group funds its role in Putin’s Ukraine war by plundering Africa’s resources – by Debora Patta and Sarah Carter (CBS News – May 16, 2023)

Garoua-Boulaï, Cameroon — Much of the bloodiest fighting since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been around the eastern city of Bakhmut, where thousands of ill-equipped Russian forces have died on the front lines since the end of last year. Many of those fighters have not been enlisted Russian soldiers, but mercenaries recruited and paid by the Wagner Group, a private army run by President Vladimir Putin’s long-time associate Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Prigozhin’s seemingly endless supply of hired guns in Ukraine requires deep pockets, and a CBS News investigation has found that he’s funding his operations in large part by putting his private army to work in Africa.

Wagner in Africa

The Russian businessman has used his forces to prop up some very unsavory regimes in exchange for free reign to plunder the valuable resources of mineral rich countries including Mali, Sudan and Libya. But it’s in the small nation of the Central African Republic (CAR) that his business model has been honed to perfection.

The story Wagner tells in a Prigozhin bank-rolled movie aired in the country — innocuously titled “Tourist” — is that his mercenaries are the saviors of CAR. The movie glorifies the mission of these soldiers of fortune as heroes repelling rebel attacks and thwarting a plan to storm the capital and overthrow the president.

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