US warns Russia’s Wagner group against interference in Mali
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned the shady Russian mercenary group Wagner on Saturday against an engagement in Mali as he pushed for a civil transition in the troubled country.
During a visit to Senegal, Blinken said the United States is “contributing to efforts with Mali and partners to support stability” in the war-ravaged country.
“I just want to add that I find it particularly regrettable when external actors make things even more difficult and complicated, and I am thinking in particular of the Wagner group,” he said.
The private military force that western capitals see as closely linked to the Kremlin is linked to conflicts in Ukraine, Africa and the Middle East.
France has, according to its report with the military junta of Mali, sent 1,000 contractors to help in a long-standing conflict with jihadists, launched attacks against Wagner.
At the beginning of the month, the West African regional group ECOWAS imposed sanctions on individual members of the military junta that has ruled Mali since it came to power in August 2020.
Blinken said he had agreed with Senegalese leaders to keep Mali on its promise to transition to democracy and promised that the United States would offer benefits for such a move.
“As soon as the democratically elected government takes office, the international community is ready to support Mali,” said Blinken.