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France, U.K., Partners Say Russia-Backed Wagner Deployed in Mali

  • France publishes statement signed by 14 other countries
  • Statement says Russia government is involved in backing Wagner
French soldiers of the Barkhane force patrol the streets of Timbuktu, northern Mali, on Dec. 5, 2021.

French soldiers of the Barkhane force patrol the streets of Timbuktu, northern Mali, on Dec. 5, 2021.

Photographer: Thoma Coex/AFP/Getty Images

France, the U.K., Germany and 12 other governments with ties to Africa’s Sahel region said they have witnessed the deployment of Russian mercenaries of the Wagner force to Mali, and that Russia is backing the move.

Wagner is controlled by Yegveny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has deployed his private army to hot spots around the world, including Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, in support of Kremlin policy.