Wagner Group in Kyiv: Who are the mercenaries in the service of Putin who are looking for Zelensky to kill him

Russian mercenaries guard Slovensk city hall in Ukraine (Europa Press/archive)

Prestigious newspaper times Spreading a chilling news: scary Wagner Group it is in Kyiv It aims to find the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. There will be 400 mercenaries tasked with the task of assassinating the national leader in order to overthrow his government and establish one he controls. Moscow.

Government Zelensky Started searching forRussian saboteurs“On the streets of the capital. They will be part of the leadership of the Russian oligarchy. Yevgeny PrigozhinWho leads the ferocious and trained mercenaries. Agents are waiting to arrange Kremlin to attack and List of 23 goals Also includes the entire cabinet, mayor KyivAnd the Vitali Klitschkoand his brother VladimirBoth are former boxing champions who have become prominent figures in the first line of defense in the Ukrainian capital.

PMCs, such as the Wagner Group, have in recent years become a A vital tool with which Russia expands its influence in the world while defending their interests. Currently, there is a presence of Russian mercenaries in at least 30 countries on four continents, which indicates the breadth of this phenomenon, which had a conflict Ukraine In 2014 his first article.

Although mercenary companies Technically illegal under the constitution Russian, the fact is that they became A key component of the “hybrid warfare” strategy what’s he doing? Moscow presented to the head of the Russian state, Russian President Vladimir Putinmediatorimplement its political goals and promote the interests of Russian national security around the worldAccording to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

In general, according to the authors ofMoscow mercenary wars“, These security companies are in the hands of oligarchs close to the Kremlinas with Prigozhinvery close to put it in which are subject to sanctions by United State.

Mercenaries of the Wagner Group in the Starobyshevo region of Donetsk, Ukraine
Mercenaries of the Wagner Group in the Starobyshevo region of Donetsk, Ukraine

One of its main tasks is to support Russian foreign policy and expand its influence around the world, thanks to mercenaries Moscow can support certain countries or partners.

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From a military point of view, given the capabilities of these mercenaries (generally former members of the security forces), allies can be strengthened, while It establishes a military presence in scenarios in which there was none, and even alters the balance of power in some conflictsWhile maintaining a reasonable degree of denial by the Kremlin‘,” the authors emphasized.

Moreover, mercenaries are more consumable and their use is less risky than deploying Russian soldiers, especially if they are killed in action or during training missions. Members of security companies have also become a source of intelligence gathering, as well as the ability to conduct covert work and covert activities, according to CSIS.

Training with the support of the Russian army

Security Contractors Receive training before sending it abroadIn some cases, even inside military bases, with possible support from the military and intelligence services. For example, according to the report, The Wagner Group trains its men in two camps next to an intelligence base (GRU) in Molkino, in the Krasnodar region..

On the other hand, mercenary companies and associated companies in the fields of energy, mining, security and logistics also provide the Russian system with a means of “Expand its commercial and economic influence in developing countries and build new sources of revenue, particularly from oil, gas and mineral extraction, to reduce the impact of sanctionsThe report highlights.

As for the tasks they perform, Its main function is to train and equip the security forces of the host country or some local militia, which includes training for specialized combat missions, such as the use of snipers or anti-aircraft defense. In addition, they serve to protect local authorities and even become the bodyguards of chiefs, as is the case with Central African Republic. His goal today is much clearer: to assassinate Zelensky.

On some occasions, according to the report, mercenaries linked to GRU They recruit human assets in addition to carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance missions, carrying out political warfare, sabotage, and other covert missions.

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Mercenaries are also posted to Protection of the main energy infrastructure or mines of both host countries and Russian companieswhich is a recurring situation in Venezuela. In addition, they and the media organizations associated with their companies help spread messages in favor of Russia. In this case, “Troll Farm” owned by PrigozhinAlso, he is punished United State.

From Ukraine to Venezuela

Ukraine It was the first country in which Russian mercenaries appeared. Currently, due to the invasion, it is estimated that there may be up to 4 thousand customers from Wagner Group scattered throughout the territory. Four hundred of them are in Kyiv. Before their central role in the conflict in the Donbas region, which is still active, they were already present at the Russian annexation of Crimea in March 2014. According to CSIS, at the height of the conflict between the separatists and Ukrainian forces, there were between 2,500 and 5,000 Russian mercenaries.

It was his turndestabilize and then consolidate control over Crimea and Donbass, overburden Kyiv and its Western allies and pressure them to make diplomatic concessions“, Entire”Denial of any official Russian involvement”, confirm the report’s expert authors. Despite this, the dispute ended up becoming a “frozen conflict” from which Russia, however, was able to draw some lessons for application in other scenarios.

Syria He was one of them. Here, Russian mercenaries The key was in Support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime curb the efforts of the United States and its allies. In addition, they were instrumental in capturing the oil fields, refineries, gas stations, and other infrastructure that were in the hands of the rebels.

according to CSISin this country there were between 1,000 and 3,000 Russian mercenaries of various companies, including Wagner Groupwhich has played an increasingly direct role in the Syrian regime’s hostilities and often aligns with Syrian economic priorities. Moscow. This country has also served as a testing ground for a hybrid deployment model that includes state forces and mercenaries.

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in case if Libyathe mercenaries’ support was not for the government recognized by the international community, but for the general Khalifa Haftar, who trained his forces and supported them in his attack to control Tripoli. The role of 800 to 1200 mercenaries, mostly from Wagner GroupIt also included the defense of Russian interests in the country.

Russia saw a power vacuum and an opportunity to exploit instability to expand Russian influence, using mercenaries to strengthen Haftar, turn the conflict in his favour, and reap the rewards.”, underline the authors of the report. In addition, Russian mercenaries have strengthened their “geostrategic position and diplomatic influence” in LibyaWhich gives Russia a role in any solution to the conflict.

There are also Russian mercenaries in Sub-Saharan Africa. At RCA, they train the security forces, in addition to protecting their boss, Faustin Arching Touaderaand mining operations. Mozambique However, it was a failure. mercenaries Wagner Group He came to support the government in its fight against the jihadists in Corporal Delgado “They had little experience conducting operations in the jungle and had difficulty coordinating with local forces,” according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. They arrived in September 2019, and were replaced last April by mercenaries from the South African company Dick Consulting Group.

Soldiers and mercenaries arrive at Caracas International Airport with two Russian Il-62 and An-124 planes, in 2019.
Soldiers and mercenaries arrive at Caracas International Airport with two Russian Il-62 and An-124 planes, in 2019.

In addition, Russian mercenaries crossed the Atlantic. Since 2017, they have been in Venezuela, which has one of its greatest allies in Moscow, to protect Russian interests and its companies, including Rosneft.. In addition, since January 2019, about a hundred of them have been published in Protecting Nicolas MaduroAfter Juan Guaido declared himself interim president.

(With information from Europe Press)

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