The Atlantic

Russia’s Favorite Mercenaries

Wagner, the elusive private military company, has made its way to Africa—with plenty of willing young Russian volunteers.
Source: Omar Sanadiki / Reuters

In Russia, journalism is far from the safest profession—even more so when the subject of investigation happens to be a private mercenary army engaged in multiple active conflicts abroad. On July 30, three Russian journalists were in the Central African Republic (CAR) while investigating a particularly dangerous topic: the Russian private military company Wagner, a mercenary outfit highly active in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts. At least two other Russian journalists have also suffered while researching Wagner, including , who suddenly fell to his death from a balcony in Yekaterinburg in April, and , a Saint Petersburg journalist forced into hiding after receiving death threats owing to his work on Wagner. There are now indications that Wagner forces may be present with both rebels and government forces in the CAR. A unit of the group, filmed by the recently deceased journalists, was operating in —contrary to Moscow’s assertions that Russian forces were present only to assist

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