Western Media Portrayal of the Wagner Group and its Connections to the Kremlin

Media sources regularly report on Wagner’s ruthless military campaigns throughout the world and its connection to the Kremlin. Other sources detail the Russian state’s reliance on Wagner to carry out proxy wars throughout the world. According to Jen Kirby of Vox, Russia relied on Wagner to do its “bidding around the world in places where it did not want to openly commit troops or resources, where it could operate in a kind of gray zone. That granted Moscow a degree of plausible deniability as it exerted its influence and interest in other corners of the globe.”Jen Kirby, “The Wagner Group, Russia’s maybe-private army in Ukraine, explained,” Vox, March 21, 2023, https://www.vox.com/world-politics/2023/3/21/23622615/ukraine-war-bakhmut-wagner-group-russia. Furthermore, Yaroslav Trofimov at the Wall Street Journal interviewed a former deputy chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), who asserted that Wagner is Russia’s only “combat unit that does [storming and breakthroughs] without asking any questions—even if it takes losses of 10% to 15% after every mission.”Yarosolav Trofimov, “Wagner Mercenaries Enter the Spotlight as Russian Troops Struggle in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/wagner-mercenaries-enter-the-spotlight-as-russian-troops-struggle-in-ukraine-11660826515. Western portrayals have characterized Russia as seeing Wagner recruits as disposable. Wagner’s treatment of fighters recruited from prison has been particularly merciless. The Voice of America confirmed with U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby, that “90% of their casualties [at the frontlines of Ukraine] are convicts.”Igor Tsikhanenka, “Wagner Group’s Use of Convicts in Ukraine Echoes Stalinist Tactics,” Voice of America, January 24, 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/wagner-group-s-use-of-convicts-in-ukraine-echoes-stalinist-tactics/6932903.html.>

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Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We reiterate once again that the brigades will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq].

Abu Ali al-Askari, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Security Official Mar. 2023
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