The Wagner Group as a Russian Hybrid Interference Tool in World Politics
The Wagner Group, a private military company with very close links with the Kremlin, has proved to be a beneficial hybrid instrument for the Russian state allowing them to operate in the grey zone. Its status reduces costs, provides flexibility, and allows the Kremlin to pursue its political and economic objectives through a sponsored non-official military group, avoiding direct responsibility and possible legal claims. It is worth mentioning that the Wagner Group is just one of the different Russian private military companies whose number has continued to grow in the last years.
The Wagner Group has been accused by NGOs and the UN of committing systemic and grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations in countries where it has established a presence. The EU decided to sanction the Wagner Group and individuals related to it in November 2021 and labelled it as a proxy organisation of the Kremlin. To justify these sanctions, the European Parliament cited a 2012 speech by President Putin in the Duma, in which he stated that a group of private military companies would be an efficient tool to accomplish national goals without directly involving the Russian State.
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