The group, such as it is, first appeared in Ukraine in 2014, where it assisted the Russian military in the annexation of Crimea. “Ukraine was basically the beginning, the departure point for the Wagner Group,” said Sergey Sukhankin, a senior research fellow with the Jamestown Foundation. Since then, a spiderweb of paramilitaries and businesses has branched out to Syria—where they have fought in support of embattled President Bashar al-Assad while securing a foothold in the country’s energy sector—as well as to Libya, Sudan, Madagascar, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic.
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