Exclusive: Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin leading push to turn continent into strategic hub, documents show
Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by house relations with existing rulers, striking military bargains, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, leaked documents reveal.
The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian chairman, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to ” strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region. Another is to see off “pro-western” insurgencies, the documents say.
In 2018 the US special advise Robert Mueller indicted Prigozhin, who is known as” Putin's cook “ because of his Kremlin catering contracts. According to Mueller, his troll mill operated an extensive social media campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump. The Wagner group- a private military contractor linked to Prigozhin- has supplied mercenaries to fight in Ukraine and Syria.
The documents demonstrate the scale of Prigozhin-linked recent operations in Africa, and Moscow's ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub. Multiple firms linked to the oligarch, including Wagner, are known by employees as the “Company”. Its activities are coordinated with senior officials inside Russia's foreign and defence ministries, the documents suggest.
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