Prigozhin Could Be Behind the Withdrawal of UN Peacekeepers From Mali – USA

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The coordinator of the US National Security Council for strategic communications, John Kirby, said that the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, could be behind the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from Mali, and that the United States is concerned about the destabilizing activities of the Wagner PMC in Africa.

Source : “Voice of America”

Kirby’s direct speech : “We know that high-ranking Malian officials worked directly with Prigozhin’s staff to inform the UN Secretary General that Mali withdrew its consent to the mission of peacekeepers.”

Details : Prigozhin, who led an unsuccessful mutiny against the Kremlin over the weekend, helped plan the withdrawal of a UN peacekeeping force known as Minusma from Mali “to advance the interests of his private military company,” Kirby said.

According to Kirby, the security situation in Mali has not improved despite the money paid by the current regime in Mali to the private military company Wagner.

The US has information that the Mali transitional government has paid more than $200 million to Wagner PMCs since the end of 2021.

Kirby stressed that Washington sees no sign that Wagner is abandoning its intentions to exploit African countries, “despite the events of the past weekend.”

On Friday, the UN Security Council voted to terminate the Minusma mission. Earlier this month, Mali asked the UN peacekeeping force to leave “without delay,” citing a “crisis of confidence” between the Malian authorities and the peacekeepers who have been in the country for the past 10 years.

Two days earlier, the acting president of Mali, Colonel Assimi Goita, said on Twitter that he was very pleased with a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which Goita called “direct and sincere.”

The US Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on four companies in the United Arab Emirates, the Central African Republic and Russia that Washington said were linked to the Wagner PMC.

Both Russia and Mali say the Russian fighters there are not mercenaries but trainers helping local troops fight a decade-long Islamist militant insurgency.

The current government of Mali seized power as a result of a military coup in 2021 and invited Wagner PMCs to the country, refusing the help of the French military mission.

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