Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a 61-year-old businessman and close associate of President Vladimir Putin, has admitted to founding the Wagner Group and its deployment in several continents including Africa. The owner of a catering company that supplied the Kremlin, Yevgeny Prigozhin said the Russian paramilitary unit was created in 2014 to fight in eastern Ukraine.
In a post on the social network Facebook this Monday, September 26, the Russian Yevgeny Prigozhin said he was the origin of the paramilitary group Wagner. The 61-year-old oligarch also acknowledged the presence of mercenaries of the private military group in the Middle East and Latin America.
“And now a confession (…) these guys, heroes, defended the Syrian people, other peoples of Arab countries, African and Latin American deprived, they became a pillar of our homeland,” said Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Wagner accused of abuses in several countries
In the West, the famous paramilitary group is at the heart of criticism, especially for its military operations described as opaque in several countries, notably in the Central African Republic and Mali, where it acts alongside local armies.
The NGO Acled (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project) specialized in collecting data on armed conflicts. In a report published at the end of August, it reported an increase in the number of abuses against civilians since 2018 in the Central African Republic and December 2021 in Mali.
Even if Wagner’s presence is confirmed in these two African countries, Moscow has always denied having any link with paramilitary groups.