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Wagner Group in the Field: Are These Guys for Real?

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Wagner Group has been getting increased attention in the wake of a recent article that says they are chasing the depleted warlord Joseph Kony in Africa. I don’t buy that story, and I’m not convinced re this new vid.

COMMENTARY by Susan Katz Keating

A video on a Russian secure messaging app claims to show certain infamous “mercs” in the field, without saying where they are. We’ve been dinged for using their name on social media, and had to leave it off of our own video in order to share our questions more widely. But social media users have used their deduction skills (such as, reading shoulder patches) to know who we’re talking about. Wagner.

READ MORE from SOF about the recent history of Wagner in Africa: Jihadists Say They Captured Russian Wagner Fighters in Mali

The group has been getting increased attention lately, following an article in Rolling Stone that says Wagner has been chasing the depleted Joseph Kony in the African bush. Yes, Joseph Kony, whose Lord’s Resistance Army wreaked havoc in Uganda some 20 years ago. The government in Uganda has said that Kony and his fewer than 100 fighters no longer pose a threat. Nevertheless, according to the Rolling Stone writer, the Wagner Group is hot on Kony’s trail. I don’t trust the premise nor the sourcing on this, and am not convinced.

Nor am I convinced that the men in this video are mercs in the field, on assignment for Wagner.

These guys look quite clean, and they’re shown using new, Western kit and popular Western products.

One viewer wrote on the Russian secure messaging channel that the men looked sketchy:

Why do Wagner’s mercenaries look like shabby, drunken homeless people?

Myself, I get more of a chill vibe off these guys. Some of them seem like the boy-next-door; others give the impression that they have been interrupted while nipping the vodka. In any case, they do not appear to be channeling the group’s founder, the late Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The first four pics, below, are the supposed current-day Wagnerites.

Alleged Wagner merc in the field.

The speaker on the vid calls this man “brat,” for “brother.

Another “brat.”

This is Prigozhin, below.

We shall see how this unfolds. In the meanwhile, I have questions. The main one being: Are these guys for real?

Susan Katz Keating is the publisher and editor in chief at Soldier of Fortune.

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