Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Future of Russia's Wagner Group in Mali

 The International Crisis Group posted on 28 June 2023 a 50 minute podcast titled "Is This the End? Wagner in Russia, Ukraine and Africa" with Olga Oliker, Jean-Herve Jezequel, and Richard Gowan.  The first 19 minutes of the podcast dealt with the Wagner Group in Russia and the Ukraine and the remainder of the podcast covered the Wagner Group's future in Mali and other African countries.

There are about 1,500 Wagner Group mercenaries in Mali.  The government of Mali called for the departure of MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping force, by the end of June with a six month period for the UN to remove its troops and equipment from the country.  MINUSMA has been located primarily in urban centers in Mali.  What happens after the UN force departs Mali?  One possibility is that the Russian mercenary force will take over the bases evacuated by MINUSMA.  Additional Wagner Group forces in Russia might redeploy to operations in Africa such as Mali, resulting in greater influence in African internal affairs by Moscow.  This development could also have a major impact on the future of UN peacekeeping in Africa.