The Russia-based Wagner Group’s recent failed mutiny brings the group’s extensive military and commercial operations worldwide into focus. With engagements ranging from Ukraine to Africa, this report explores the Wagner Group’s broad reach, including its activity in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic (CAR), Mali, and Sudan.
- In Ukraine, the Wagner Group reportedly deployed thousands of prisoners to fight on the front lines, with a significant role in the battle for Bakhmut.
- The Wagner Group has been involved in Syria since 2015, supporting President Bashar al-Assad. The group’s operations include oil field security and recruitment of former rebel fighters.
- In Libya, the group supported eastern commander Khalifa Haftar’s assault on Tripoli, possibly funded by the United Arab Emirates. The Wagner Group remains in Libya even after Haftar’s offensive ended in 2020.
- The Central African Republic saw the intervention of Wagner in 2018, supporting the government to quell civil war. Analysts suggest that in return, Wagner received logging rights and control of a gold mine.
- Wagner fighters have allegedly been active in Mali as trainers helping local troops combat Islamist militants, and there are accusations of involvement in civilian killings.
- In Sudan, the group has been accused of gold mining, suppressing pro-democracy protests, and spreading disinformation, while also supplying the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces with weapons.