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We are alarmed by a potential deployment of Russia-backed Wagner Group forces in Mali. We understand that the reported deal — costing $10 million per month — diverts money that could be used to support the Malian Armed Forces and public services to pay for the deployment of Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s Wagner Group forces to Mali. Wagner forces — which are known for their destabilizing activities and human rights abuses — will not bring peace to Mali, but rather will destabilize the country further.

Yevgeniy Prigozhin is sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union in connection with his dealings with the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense and his efforts to subvert U.S. democratic processes. The Wagner Group, which is also sanctioned by the United States, has been implicated in abuses and actions that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Central African Republic (CAR). For example, in CAR, Wagner elements carried out extrajudicial killings of members of predominantly Muslim Peuhl communities.

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