#GS-02 International Relations
- The Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organization founded in 2014 by Dmitriy Valeryevich Utkin.
- They receive military equipment from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and uses MoD installations for their training.
- The group is reportedly named after the 19th century German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor Richard Wagner.
- The group has been funded and supported by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- The group has not been registered as a legal entity anywhere in the world.
- The group has been aiding separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics from 2014 to 2015.
- US intelligence agencies have claimed that the Wagner group has 50,000 fighters in Ukraine, including 10,000 contractors and 40,000 convicts.
- Wagner group have often been linked to white supremacist and neo-Nazi far-right extremists due to its name and activities of some of its members.
- However, experts have noted that the Wagner Group is not driven by ideology, but is rather a network of mercenaries “linked to the Russian security state.”
- The U.S. on Friday (20-01-23) designated Russia’s Wagner group as a “transnational criminal organisation.”
- The designation is expected to allow the wider application of sanctions on the group’s sprawling global network.
For more updates, click here