Wagner Group

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    The U.S.  designated Russia’s Wagner group as a “transnational criminal organization,” piling pressure on the private Russian army fighting in Ukraine.

    About Wagner Group 

    • According to reports in The Washington Post, it is a network of contractors that supply soldiers for hire.
    • It is said to have been founded by Dmitry Utkin, a former special forces officer, a member of Russia’s military intelligence service and a veteran of both Chechen wars. 
    • It is ostensibly private, but according to CSIS, “its management and operations are deeply intertwined with the Russian military and intelligence community” under Vladimir Putin.
    • The Wagner Group first surfaced in 2014, during Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
    • It has been involved in conflicts in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
    • Criticism:  It has recruited, trained, and sent private military operatives to conflict zones around the world to fuel violence, loot natural resources, and intimidate civilians in violation of international law, including international human rights law.
      • Its forces are known to be fighting in parts of Ukraine, including during a brutal, long-running battle for the small city of Bakhmut.

    Source: TH