Before Prigozhin’s death, Wagner was fighting on Russia’s behalf in Africa. What happens now? | Dino Mahtani

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From securing resources to destabilising western influence, the mercenary group’s activities hang in the balance

This week, before Yevgeny Prigozhin was reportedly killed, the founder of the mercenary group Wagner had appeared bullish in a self-styled publicity video, holding a rifle and dressed in desert camouflage. He was understood to be somewhere in Africa, and stated that he was proud to be “making Russia even greater on all continents, and Africa more free”.

Just days later, Russian state media and Wagner itself would report Prigozhin’s death in a plane crash which also apparently killed Dmitry Utkin, often described as a Wagner co-founder, and other senior figures from the organisation. The immediate questions in western capitals were whether Vladimir Putin was responsible, and what the death of Prigozhin means for Wagner and for politics in Russia now.

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