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Wagner Group smuggling arms via Mali

The U.S. State Department claimed on Monday that the Russian mercenary force, Wagner Group, is attempting to cloak its efforts to procure military hardware for deployment in Ukraine. It added that Washington has received intelligence that Wagner Group plans to transport these acquisitions via Mali to support Russia’s war efforts.

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State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, during a routine press briefing, suggested that the mercenary group is prepared to falsify documentation for these transactions.

Miller stated, “There are indications that Wagner has been attempting to purchase military systems from foreign suppliers and route these weapons through Mali as a third party.”

While there are no current indications of these acquisitions being completed or executed, Miller stressed that the situation is under active scrutiny.

In response to Wagner’s military operations, Washington has sanctioned several individuals and entities supporting the group, with further information to be released soon, according to Miller.

Wagner mercenaries are known to have fought alongside regular Russian forces in Ukraine, participating in key battles, such as the ongoing struggle for the control of Bakhmut, and concerns surrounding Wagner’s activities in Mali have been expressed by Western nations since late 2021.

Following a coup in 2021, the West African country, along with Russia, has maintained that Russian forces in the region are not mercenaries but trainers assisting local troops with equipment procured from Russia.

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