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The Wagner Group in Mali. John Kirby: Yevgeny Prigozhin arranged the exit of the UN mission to promote the interests of the Wagner Group

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Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner Group were behind the decision of the military junta in Mali to withdraw permission for the presence of UN troops as part of the MINUSMA mission, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. He called on the Malian authorities to “disentangle themselves from this harmful relationship”.

– Earlier this month, the transitional government in little withdrew its approval of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission dubbed MINUSMA and demanded that the decades-long peacekeeping mission leave the country immediately. What is not widely known is that Yevgeny Prigozhin helped orchestrate this outing to promote the interests of the Wagner Group, John Kirby said at a press conference.

“Indeed, we know that high-ranking Malian officials worked directly with Prigozhin’s staff to inform the secretary-general UNthat Mali is withdrawing its consent, he added.

READ ALSO: The armed arm of the Kremlin and shady deals. What next for the Wagnerians in Africa?

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Demonstration of the Russian presence in the capital of Mali, Bamako Nicolas Remene / Zuma Press / Forum

$200 million spent on the presence of Wagnerians

Kirby warned the Mali authorities that this decision would only worsen the country’s security and economic situation, adding that if Mali wanted more cooperation with the United States – the country’s largest donor of humanitarian and development aid – this would only be possible if it made a democratic transition and “disembedded from a harmful relationship” with the Russian mercenary formation The Wagner Group.

A White House official revealed that the Malian junta that came to power in a 2021 coup – overthrowing a junta that similarly seized power less than a year earlier – has so far spent more than $200 million maintaining the Wagner Group’s mercenary presence. Kirby pointed out that the money could have been spent to benefit the Malian economy, but instead the security situation in the country has only worsened.

Kirby also mentioned that the Wagnerians helped the authorities kill 500 civilians in 2022, are undermining the country’s sovereignty and stealing its resources. Prigozhin was also allegedly planning a coup against the president of Chad, and “there is no reason to believe that he will not try it in the future if it serves his personal interests.”

After the Prigozhin rebellion

Reuters reminds that both the Malian junta and the authorities Russia they claim the Wagnerians are not mercenaries but “trainers helping local troops fight the ongoing Islamist insurgency.”

According to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Prigozhin’s rebellion The Kremlin has begun the process of taking over its empire in Africa. Boss on Friday of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov reportedly told his Malian counterpart that Russia plans to continue supporting Mali, including by training its armed forces.

Main photo source: Nicolas Remene / Zuma Press / Forum

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