Libya, Putin sends the Wagner Group like in Ukraine and Syria. The mercenaries used by Moscow to win wars that it cannot fight

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From April 2019, when the operation began "Volcano of Anger" of the General Khalifa Haftar, Aziziya – 30 kilometers south of Tripoli – is the front line. It is where the militias faithful to the Government of National Agreement (Gna) of Fayez al-Serraj they rejected the enemies of theLibyan national army (Enl), interrupting what seemed to be an unstoppable advance. For months now the war has been consummated in this stretch of sand, streets and houses piled up on top of one another.

It is about six weeks since the Haftar troops were around 200 militiamen of the Wagner Group, society of Russian private soldiers very close to Kremlin. The sector of this kind of companies – which every year make thousands of dollars in the world – is quite controversial: the 1989 UN Convention against the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries consider their deployment "A violation of international law". However, no international law prohibits the use of private companies for military and security purposes such as armed guards, convoy escort, armament maintenance, detention of prisoners and army training. And yet, both the single mercenary and the private company of soldiers actually take part in conflict situations for money. The substantial difference should lie in the fact that a mercenary does not respond to any rule, while private companies should be prohibited from killing. But according to international media, among Wagner's soldiers there would also be some sniper, snipers.

The news of the presence of the Wagner Group had been reported initially by Libyan newspapers and was confirmed on 5 November by New York Times. In a war context where militias usually have fewer than 400 soldiers, badly armed and poorly trained, the mercenary card is a move that can change the balance. "They are completely different worlds," he comments Emed Badi of the Middle East Institute of Washington to the American newspaper. Although from eight years in Libya there is an embargo on the entry of new weapons, now the conflict is being fought on the ground among rival, indigenous armed groups, while in the sky they fly drones brought to the country by Turkey in support of Serraj and himself United in support of Haftar. There violation of the embargo it has been evident since last May.

The Wagner Group name derives from the nom de guerre used by Dmitry Utkin, former Russian military intelligence officer (Gru) who founded the mercenary company in 2014. According to the Russian newspaper Fontanka, Utkin chose "Wagner" because he was fascinated by Nazi theories: the composer Richard Wagner was among the favorites of Adolf Hitler.

His retirement from the Russian army dates back to the previous year, 2013, the time when the private armies industry in which ex military of the Russian army work explodes. Before setting up Wagner, Utik worked for one of these, the Moran Security Group. The site states that the company provides customers with "security, transport, medical assistance, rescues and consulting services". In the curriculum we read that since the 2000s the company has been involved in actions for the recovery of hijacked ships by pirates of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, of escort services in Iraq, kenya, Nigeria is Central African Republic, even assisting a Russian channel he wanted to broadcast from Fallujah, still in Iraq, in 2004.

From the Moran, as reported by the site Radio Free Europe, in 2013 a group of former military men was then detached to train, again between 2013 and 2014, the Slavonic Corp, mercenary company registered at Hong Kong that appeared on Russian military forums to recruit personnel in Syria in order to "protect oil fields and pipelines". Together with Wagner, they are the other private contingent composed of Russian military that is deployed more frequently.

Syria was the second theater of war where the Wagner Group troops were deployed in support of the regime of Bashar al-Assad from the end of 2015. In 2014 they were in Ukraine, together with the pro-Russian separatists. Then there were three years of silence, until 2018, when the group carried out operations in the Central African Republic to train local armies committed against the armed group Seleka. TO Bangui, the capital, the president's security advisor Francois Bozize is a former Russian spy sent by the Kremlin, Valery Zakharov. Three Russian journalists trying to investigate the Russian presence in the African country – the reporter Orhan Djemal, the documentarian Alexandre Rastorgouev and the cameraman Kirill Radtchenko – deaths were found in July 2018 in circumstances still to be clarified. In January 2019, Wagner's private soldiers were also deployed to support Nicholas Maduro, in Venezuela.

Romance as much as the history of society is the biography of man that the Russian media suppose to be the owner, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Native of Leningrad, like Putin, as a young man he ended up in prison for robbery, says the Guardian. He then became a simple restaurateur, until one day, by chance, the Russian president did not stop by him for dinner. Two years later, Prigozhin was holding the most important contracts for the catering service at the Kremlin. As a restaurateur he turned into something else. In 2016 it was put under sanctions by the US Treasury Department because its companies Concord Management is Concord Catering have supported military operations of Russian separatists in Donbass. The Wagner Group is also sanctioned in that same procedure, although it is not traced back to Prigozhin.

Concord Management and Concord Catering then reappear in the report of Robert Mueller as funding bodies of the Internet Research Agency Llc, one of the companies accused of "trying to interfere in the American political and electoral process, including the 2016 elections" spreading fake news. Although officially out of the direct control of President Putin, it is clear that the Wagner Group is the army deployed by Vladimir Putin in the most delicate missions, where Moscow he wants to have boots on the ground, without being noticed. It is not theRussian Army, but his loyalty to the president is the same. In Libya, for Moscow, it is time for the war to close and for General Haftar to take Tripoli.


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