An attack against the military group in Mali might have been planned by Ukraine, leaked papers reportedly say
US officials considered killing military leaders of the Russian private military company Wagner in an attempt to curb its allegedly growing influence in Africa, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.
A document allegedly leaked by a US guardsman on a Discord server mentions dozens of options for “coordinated US and allied disruption efforts” against Wagner, including “kinetic” ones, the newspaper reported. The US also thought about providing information to help Ukraine kill commanders of the group in Africa, the document claims.
The trove of documents showed little evidence that the CIA, the Pentagon and other US agencies have caused any major setbacks for Wagner in the past six years, according to the Post. They did mention a single “successful unattributed attack in Libya” that “destroyed a Wagner logistics aircraft,” but the newspaper didn’t provide details about the operation.
Western nations have long accused the Wagner group of spreading malign influence in Africa. Its head, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, has described the services provided by his employees as furthering the anti-colonialist aspirations of African nations.
Anas El Gomati, a Libya-based commentator interviewed by the Post for its story, claimed that Wagner was “probably the most destabilizing actor” currently operating in the country. Libya was one of the most prosperous nations on the continent, before a NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi resulted in his brutal death in 2011. The country has since been fractured among warring factions.
Another leaks-based story published by the Post on Monday pointed the finger at Ukraine’s military intelligence service GUR and its head, Kirill Budanov, as the would-be attackers against Wagner in Africa. The Ukrainian agency planned such an operation in Mali, an NSA document reportedly said.
The Post described Budanov as “an ambitious 37-year-old general and rising star in the Ukrainian military,” for whom US and European officials privately express “admiration” and whose “audacity sometimes makes them nervous.”
Russia accused GUR of masterminding the attack on the Crimean Bridge last October. The powerful explosion killed the seemingly unwitting driver of a truck – carrying a disguised bomb as well as a couple in a car – which happened to be nearby when the device went off.
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Moscow has also blamed Ukrainian special services for the bomb assassinations of journalist Darya Dugina in August 2022 and military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky earlier this month. Behind closed doors, Washington is holding Kiev responsible for the first crime, according to US media outlets.
April 24, 2023 at 07:37PM