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Current Affairs

The Wagner Group

Date: 30 May 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Mercenaries belonging to the Wagner Group have been accused of war crimes in Ukraine.

 

Background

The alleged mercenary soldiers were from Belarus, who tortured and killed civilians in Ukraine.

 

Details

  • The report of mercenary groups participating in Ukraine war has been rife since the beginning but no evidences have been found.

  • Better known as the Wagner Group, there is no such corporation registered under that name, no recruitment centre, and no records about its funding.

 

Origin

  • Some report says that Wagner Group is a network of contractors that supply soldiers for hire.

  • The group first emerged in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea. Since then, its presence has been noted in the Middle East and Africa.

  • The group was founded by Dmitry Utkin, a former Special Forces officer, member of Russia’s military intelligence service.

  • The name is said to have derived from Utkin’s call sign, Vagner while another theory says he named the group on Richard Wagner, the favorite composer of Adolf Hitler.

Relations with Russia

  • Russia has implied that mercenary groups are illegal in the country but the group is said to share good relations with Putin.

  • Private mercenaries such as Wagner Group are helpful for Russia as they can provide soldiers for war while simultaneously denying any relationship with them. 

  • There is no proof linking Russia and Wagner Group. This allows Russia to exercise plausible deniability for crimes committed by the group.

 

Funding of Wagner Group

  • Close ally of Putin and Russian Oligarch, Yevgeniy Prigozhin is said to have funded the Wagner Group.

  • It is said that Prigozin was responsible for deploying Wagner Group mercenaries in Ukraine and was sanctioned by European Union.

 

Presence of Wagner Group

  • Mercenaries of Wagner Group have served in Syria, Libya, Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and Mozambique.

  • They have fought for the Russian-backed Bashar al-Assad regime in Syrian Civil War. They helped protect government infrastructure during the war.

  • After France decided to withdraw its forces from Mali, the government hired Wagner Group to help protect the country from insurgents.

  • The government is estimated to pay up to $10 million every month for securing the services of the Wagner Group.