Russian advisers will continue working with the forces of the Central African Republic, but the operations there of the Wagner Group are the private military contractor’s own, separate business, the Kremlin says.
The Kremlin statement on Wednesday concerns a country with which Russia has had close ties with in recent years. Hundreds of Russian operatives, including many from the Wagner Group, have been helping its government fight rebel uprisings against President Faustin-Archange Touadera since 2018.
And Touadera is scheduled to attend the second Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg in July.
But Wagner’s fate is uncertain after its abortive mutiny in Russia on Saturday.
This week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told state broadcaster Russia Today that Wagner’s work in CAR “as instructors … will continue” and that the weekend’s events would not impact relations between Moscow and its partners and allies.
Meanwhile, Bangui has remained upbeat about the situation with minister and presidential adviser Fidèle Gouandjika telling the Agence France-Presse news agency that what the country had in place was “a defence deal with Russia and not Wagner. … Moscow has subcontracted to Wagner, and if Russia doesn’t agree, it will send us a new contingent.”
The mercenary group has been accused of multiple human rights abuses in CAR, Burkina Faso and Mali.
And no, there are questions about whether the group could still be seen as a stabilising force for tackling armed groups after its mutiny in Russia.
“They will be seen as too unstable and potentially a threat to the leadership in those countries,” Michael Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official, told the Reuters news agency.
“They almost started a coup in their own [country].”