Bonus Episode: Is This the End? Wagner in Russia, Ukraine and Africa
Today we're bringing you a bonus episode on the attempted insurrection by Wagner forces in Russia from Crisis Group's global podcast Hold Your Fire!
Over the weekend, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian private security company known as the Wagner Group, spearheaded an insurrection in Russia. In response to Kremlin moves to bring Wagner under the Russian army’s command and, according to him, attacks on a Wagner base by the Russian military, the group seized the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, the main staging ground for Russia’s Ukraine war. Wagner forces then advanced to within 200km of Moscow before Prigozhin backed down and agreed to leave for Belarus and demobilise his forces involved in the uprising. Wagner’s future, particularly in areas of Africa and the Middle East in which it operates, is uncertain.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard speaks first with Crisis Group’s Europe & Central Asia Director Olga Oliker about what drove Prigozhin’s rebellion and what it means for the Kremlin and its war in Ukraine. Richard then talks to Sahel Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel and UN Director Richard Gowan about how the uprising might affect Wagner’s operations in Africa, particularly in Mali. They look at how the Malian transitional authorities’ ties to Moscow and Wagner have influenced Bamako’s foreign relations and their recent demand that the Security Council pull out UN peacekeepers from Mali. They also examine what the withdrawal of the mission might mean for the fight against jihadists in Mali and a peace process in the country’s north that is already under strain.
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