Wagner’s mercenaries swap Ukrainian trenches for natural resources in Africa – by Javier G. Cuesta (El Pais – August 14, 2023)


In Saint Petersburg, the gigantic PMC Wagner Center sign no longer hangs in the majestic building at 15 Zolnaya Street (or Ash Street, in English). The mercenaries’ short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin — which took place on June 23 and 24 — couldn’t be punished by Vladimir Putin, since the organization continues to be essential for his interests. However, he has forced its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to alter the objectives of his private military company.

As the address of its public headquarters insinuates, only ashes remain from the memory of the paramilitary army, which made headlines in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut. Now, the old Wagner — which was created by Moscow a decade ago to undertake covert operations in far-away lands — has been reborn. Following Ukraine, Africa and its natural resources have become the main objectives of the paramilitary group.

Although he was forced to leave the Ukrainian trenches, the insurgent Prigozhin hasn’t lost his commercial interests in Russia, despite having demanded the dismissal of the Ministry of Defense’s high command in the middle of a war.

Several companies belonging to Putin’s former cook — known for having built his empire from the catering business — have still been awarded contracts worth 4.4 billion rubles (or about $45 million) to provide services to school cafeterias across Moscow, as revealed by the Dossier Center.

For the rest of this article: https://english.elpais.com/international/2023-08-14/wagners-mercenaries-swap-ukrainian-trenches-for-natural-resources-in-africa.html