Prigozhin Criticizes US’ Efforts in Africa, Invites Blinken to Support Wagner’s Efforts Instead
Earlier this week, the Clash Report published a letter from Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin addressed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
In the letter, which Russia’s TASS News Agency said was posted in both Russian and English on Telegram, Prigozhin criticized the United States’ efforts to “restore order” to the African region and touted that Wagner “managed to achieve great results” in establishing order in the countries they’ve been present in.
“Therefore, I invite you to support the Wagner PMC’s efforts in ensuring safety and security in Africa by sponsoring a new project named ‘Wagner. Safe Africa’ (WSA), in which you can invest, thereby saving American taxpayer money,” Prigozhin added.
On a recent trip to Niger, Blinken warned African nations about entanglements with Russian private mercenary company Wagner Group, accusing it of only bringing more instability, violence and corruption to the region.
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“Where Wagner has been present, bad things have inevitably followed,” Blinken told reporters in the Niger capital Niamey last week. “It has not proven to be an effective response to insecurity, and at the same time we’ve seen countries that find themselves weaker, poorer, more insecure, less independent as a result of an association with Wagner.”
Blinken was recently in the country to reassert the US’ engagement in the continent amid Russia and China increasing their presence. He joins a crowded list of high-ranking US officials to visit the continent this year after the US-Africa leaders summit in Washington in December. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield and First Lady Jill Biden all recently visited, and Vice President Kamala Harris starts a week-long visit this weekend.
Wagner Group, founded and led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has an estimated 5,000 mercenaries in the region, almost the same size as the US’ 6,000 troops, according to a February report by the Wall Street Journal. The group, which has been active in Africa since 2017, has ongoing security and military assistance contracts with the Central African Republic and Mali governments, as well as a Libyan faction.
The US in January designated the mercenary group as a significant transnational criminal organization and announced tougher sanctions on its support network, in a move to “target a range of Wagner’s key infrastructure – including an aviation firm used by Wagner, a Wagner propaganda organization, and Wagner front companies,” said Blinken.
The designation and sanctions follow the offer from Washington to the Central African Republic to train its army and increase humanitarian aid if they break away from Wagner.
Information for this briefing was found via The Clash Report, TASS News Agency, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.