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Russia creates new military structure in Africa after Prigozhin's death - WSJ

Russia creates new military structure in Africa after Prigozhin's death - WSJ Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin (Photo: Getty Images)

The Russian Federation, after the death of Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, is working on a new military structure that will take over extensive operations in Africa, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Who will replace the Wagnerians?
According to the agency, Russia plans to replace Wagner in Africa with other private military companies, namely Redoubt and Convoy. Friends of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Gennady Timchenko, and Arkady Rottenberg fund the companies.

In particular, Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov heads the structure responsible for the Russian Federation's operations on the continent, and GRU official Andriy Averyanov controls the activities.

Deputy Defense Minister Yevkurov visited Libya, Burkina Faso, Mali, and the Central African Republic in late August. In particular, Averyanov and Redoubt commander Konstantin Mirzayants could be seen in the footage of the trips. Konstantin Pikalov, who previously led Wagner's military operations in Africa, is the head of the convoy.

Russian mercenaries operate in many African countries:

  • Sudan;
  • Mali
  • Libya;
  • Mozambique.

Russian influence in Africa began to be discussed after 2014 when the first sanctions were imposed. The continent turned out to be especially important for Russia's defense sector, which was deprived of many contracts worldwide. Even before 2013, the share of Russian weapons in Africa ranged from 11-25%, and after 2017, it increased to more than 40%. As of 2020, half of Africa's imported weapons were Russian.

In particular, energy is another lever of influence. Almost 600 million Africans do not have constant access to electricity. Droughts and other disasters only worsen their situation. Since 2019, Algeria, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, and Rwanda have relied on Russian nuclear energy. In particular, the terrorist country promised to build several nuclear power plants over time.

Prigozhin's death

On August 23, a business jet crashed in the Tver region. Later, it turned out that among the plane's passengers was the leader of the Wagnerites, Yevgeny Prigozhin, commanders and fighters of his PMC.

A few days later, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation officially confirmed the death of Wagner leader Prigozhin in a plane crash. On August 29, his press service announced the mercenary's burial at the Prokhorov Cemetery in St. Petersburg. The funeral allegedly took place in a closed format.