Lavrov: Wagner Group is in Libya by orders of its authorities; Russian government isn’t linked to Wagner

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Wagner Group is a private military company, which is present in Mali and Libya “on a commercial basis,” and has no relationship with the Russian government.

Lavrov added, in an interview with the Italian Mediaset network, that his government had previously made it clear to the French government that Wagner was in Africa to provide security services based on contracts signed with the authorities of those countries, in response to both the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, in September 2021, right after they stated that Russia had nothing to do in Africa either through government channels or through private military companies.

Lavrov confirmed the invitation of this private military company by the authorities in the city of Tobruk, where the Libyan parliament is located, and also at the request of the Malian government so that its members work as military trainers.

US officials have previously said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is resorting to the “Wagner” as the regular Russian forces falter and the number of deaths in their ranks increases, while Western reports indicated that about 20,000 Wagner fighters are fighting in Ukraine alongside the Russian forces after they were withdrawn from Libya, Syria and other regions.

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