The Wall Street JournalThe Wall Street Journal

Putin moves to seize control of Wagner’s global empire

By Benoit Faucon, Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw

28 Jun 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Kremlin is attempting to seize control of the Wagner Group following a failed mutiny by its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin. The Russian government is assuring its partners in Africa and the Middle East that Wagner's operations will continue without interruption, but under new management.

In the hours after Yevgeny Prigozhin’s army of ex-convicts and mercenaries halted their advance on Moscow, the Kremlin set out to seize full control of the global empire built by the notorious military entrepreneur.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister flew to Damascus to personally deliver a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: Wagner Group forces would no longer operate there independently. Senior Russian foreign ministry officials phoned the president of the Central African Republic, whose personal bodyguards include Wagner mercenaries, offering assurances that Saturday’s crisis wouldn’t derail Russia’s expansion into Africa. Government jets from Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations shuttled from Syria to Mali, another of Wagner’s key foreign outposts.

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