The Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner, which is actively involved in the fighting in Ukraine and also has a presence in Africa, is a formidable adversary because of the price it is willing to pay to achieve its goals, a senior French general said, broadcasting today , February 13, France-Presse (AFP).
The Wagner Group, run by a businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, plays an increasingly important role on the Ukrainian front. The PMC is using unorthodox tactics, including a campaign to find new recruits in the Russian penitentiary system, AFP notes.
“They (Wagner fighters. — Red.) send us a message that when we have to face these militias elsewhere, they will be able to pay a very high price in blood to achieve their goals and will be a formidable opponent, – said the chief of staff of the French ground forces, General Pierre Schill.
In his opinion, groups of fighters such as Wagner will become increasingly important in the future.
Western analysts also believe that Prigozhin and Wagner play “a key role in the Kremlin’s politics, supporting a hawkish faction” insisting on continuing the conflict, the French news agency said in a publication.
“Wagner, because he … pays a huge price, questions us and tells us that he is a formidable adversary,” General Schill shared his assessments with reporters in Paris.
Wagner is also increasingly present in French-speaking Africa, where it has deployed units in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic and Mali, according to Western sources. His presence was one of the factors behind the withdrawal of French troops from all three of these countries and, as a result, the weakening of the strategic influence of Paris in the African Sahel region, states AFP.
Mali’s army-led government last year urged the French president to abandon his “neo-colonial and patronizing” stance. The reaction from the Malian capital followed in response to the statements of the owner of the Elysee Palace during his three-day African tour, visiting Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau. Referring to the current situation in Mali, Macron argued at the time that West African countries have a responsibility to ensure that the citizens of Mali can “express the sovereignty of the people” and “create a foundation of stability” in order to ensure “an effective fight against terrorist groups.”
As reported EADaily, according to Western media, the EU may introduce additional restrictions against Wagner PMCs as part of a new, tenth round of sanctions. It is indicated that it is France that insists on imposing sanctions against Wagner, since the fighters of the group operate not only in Ukraine, but also in the former French territories in Central Africa and in the Sahel region.