Sudan: Wagner Group Gets Rich Kills Democracy

NYT headline:From Russia With Love’: A Putin Ally Mines Gold and Plays Favorites in Sudan

Subheadline: Backed by the Kremlin, the shadowy network known as the Wagner Group is getting rich in Sudan while helping the military to crush a democracy movement.

Best known as a supplier of hired guns, Wagner has in recent years evolved into a far broader and more sophisticated tool of Kremlin power, according to experts and Western officials tracking its expansion. Rather than a single entity, Wagner has come to describe interlinked war-fighting, moneymaking and influence-peddling operations, low-cost and deniable, that serve Mr. Putin’s ambitions on a continent where support for Russia is relatively high.

Wagner emerged in 2014 as a band of Kremlin-backed mercenaries that supported Mr. Putin’s first foray into eastern Ukraine, and that later deployed to Syria. In recent months, at least 1,000 of its fighters have re-emerged in Ukraine, British intelligence has said.

The linchpin of Wagner’s operations, according to Western officials, is Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef” who was indicted in the United States on charges of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.