I’ve been hoping for the past few days now to get a chance to work on the next piece about private mercenary group Wagner. The pace of developing events in Afrin has stymied progress, and this interim effort, as a result may be a bit more piecemeal than I had intended. Nevertheless, the fact that so much (futile)energy has gone into the denial of this 400 pound gorilla in the Syrian living room necessitates a reprise of my original ‘bombshell report’ (beating the Bloomberg “exclusive bombshell report” to the punch by …. Hmmm… only three days!
Russian 'private contractors' in Syria
It’s particularly apropos to keep up with this aspect of the Syrian Endgame with news now of a naval vessel on the way to Syria full of Spetsnaz and their equipment. This development signals that the attempt to infiltrate deniable ‘contract’ soldiers into the war may have burned Moscow so badly as to require it to pull the plug on “Wagner” and the rest of the ‘private contractor’ experiment! Unlike product marketing – in foreign war entanglements, the maxim ‘any publicity is good publicity’ just doesn’t seem to hold!
So, now some 2 weeks after the incident in which Russia lost more soldiers – official or unofficial – than in the entire duration of its Syrian adventure previous – what do we KNOW for sure about PVC Wagner and the boys who signed up to fight Moscows war on the sly? We know that Hong Kong registered Wagner is an outgrowth of a preceding experiment in private armies working for Russian state interests. It was founded by Lieutenant-colonel Dmitry Utkin, becoming a training unit working out of Pskov Special Forces base, Krasnodar region, town of Goryachy Klyuch, vil. Molkino (44°47'42″N 39°13'19″E)
As part of an entity known as Slavonic Corps, he went first to Syria in 2013, on the payroll of shadowy parties who may or may not have been fronting for the Syrian government. That unit was sent east to defend oil installations which were under attack by jihadist elements, but were quickly surrounded and almost destroyed in their first contact, retreating under the cover of a fortuitous sandstorm, and then returning home under a cloud of Syrian distaste and Russian denials.
Utkin(right)with "the man"
Perhaps profiting from this misadventure, Utkin decided to form his own private military group, named indeed after the German composer, in 2014. It first saw action in the Donbass Ukraine conflict and then in the Crimea annexation.
In 2015, after undergoing some training at a specially equipped base in Krasnodar Krai, Wagner and his squadron returned to Syria. Soon after Russia's air campaign was launched, there appeared first reports of the death of Russian mercenaries on the ground. The most widely spoken of was the story of Russians who died in the battle for Palmyra in March 2016. According to unofficial sources, they could have suffered up to 600 fatalities in Syria.
But in all of this, the connections between the private mercenaries and the Russian state have stayed suitably murky or at least did, until the name of the man who is said to be behind the 'troll factory' which is so much a part of the news cycle in the west now, came up. in connection with the group. Yevgeny Prigozhin, personal Putin friend from his original power base St Petersburg, is known as the guy who controls all of the contracts for state military catering. But he's also the financial backer of Wagner PMC
Recently, Russian media reported that contracts for the production of a quarter of all gas and oil located on the Syrian territory recovered with Russia's might be awarded to Prigozhin-associated LLC Yevro Polis. In exchange, LLC Yevro Polis would commit itself to recovering oil deposits and infrastructure facilities from ISIS militants and opponents of Assad's regime, and to protecting them thereafter. Wagner PMC would be a likely selection for providing protection to those deposits. In fact, St Pete's Fontanka reports that a memorandum of intent was signed in December 2016, during the meeting of Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ganev and Russian Energy Ministry Alexandr Novak. The memorandum was signed for a period of five years.
It's said that Prigozhin receives big government orders for protecting those oil installatons. He and Wagner are both on the list of US Treasury sanctioned Russians.
Comin right up... next episode - Opera Lovers Unite~! (Even More)Secret WAGNER tracks Uncovered