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After more than three months of rumors and pressures which therefore seem to have turned out to be in vain, the French authorities considered, Thursday, December 23, that a certain number of material elements enabled them to officially state that the controversial Wagner Group – considered close to the Kremlin and which never appears legally – had started a beginning of “Deployment of mercenaries” in Mali. An unexpected position on the form – a joint statement from fifteen countries – and perilous on the bottom, a relative uncertainty remains on the profile and the intentions of the men in uniform observed in Mali in recent days.
“We, international partners, determined to support Mali (…), strongly condemn the deployment of mercenaries on Malian territory ”, thus states the communiqué co-signed by Canada and all European countries intervening militarily in one way or another in Mali – whether for training (like Germany), material support (like the United Kingdom ) or within “Takuba”, this coalition of special forces bringing together ten states, including Estonia, Belgium, and Italy.
The signatories of the text regret “The decision of the Malian transitional authorities to use already limited public funds to pay foreign mercenaries”. They are also clearly targeting Russia, responsible, according to them, “Material support for the deployment of the Wagner Group”, and call Moscow “To behave responsibly”. The press release recalls the sanctions taken on December 13 by the European Union against eight people and three companies linked to the Wagner Group..
Suspicious air rotations
The reasons for the concern of Paris and its partners were clarified Thursday by government sources. They mainly concern “Military-type installations allowing the reception of a significant number of mercenaries”. Means deployed “Urgently”, “at Bamako airport”, added these sources, indicating that “When ordering a large quantity of food (…), it is that we anticipate a reception at short notice ”. “The whole of this operation was the subject of air transfers involving means of the Russian armed forces and was supervised locally by operators of the Wagner Group”, they stressed.
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