Inside Russia’s Notorious Mercenary Group

In the wake of the Ukrainian War, a private military company called the Wagner group has come into the spotlight. A wave of early reporting alleged that Wagner contractors were part of a hit squad tasked with taking out President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. But Wagner, which has close ties to Vladmir Putin and his allies, has been covertly spreading Russian influence by serving in proxy wars for years now. VICE News’ Julia Steers takes us inside the notorious private military company that technically doesn’t even exist as she gained unprecedented access to Wagner’s leaders in their most successful mission to date, the Central African Republic. 

This episode was produced by Adriana Tapia. It was reported by Julia Steers and Amel Guettafti for VICE on Showtime – you can see the documentary version on Showtime now. New episodes of VICE on Showtime air on Sundays at 8pm EST.

VICE News Reports is hosted by Arielle Duhaime-Ross and produced by Sophie Kazis, Jen Kinney, Steph Brown, Sam Eagan, Adreanna Rodriguez, and Adriana Tapia. Our senior producer is Sam Greenspan. Stephanie Kariuki and Ashley Cleek are supervising producers. Sound design and music composition by Steve Bone, Pran Bandi, and Kyle Murdock. Mixing by Evan Sutton.

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