Wall Street Journal

The Wagner Group in Africa Serves Putin’s Global Ambitions

As in Syria in 2015, Russia’s intervention poses multiple dangers to the NATO alliance. The coup in Niger is the latest evidence.

Research Fellow and Program Manager, Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East
Vladimir Putin with Ibrahim Traore and Dennis Fassou Nguesso during the annual Navy Day Parade on July 30, 2023, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (via Getty Images)

Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty has been courageous, and America’s support has been honorable. Yet even as Ukrainians successfully expose Russian military weaknesses, the West can’t afford to focus only on this conflict. As war rages from Bakhmut to Kherson, Vladimir Putin is pursuing a grand strategy aimed at weakening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s southern flank in Africa.

“The African continent is emerging as a new center of power right before our eyes,” Mr. Putin told African leaders at a late July summit in St. Petersburg. As he spoke, a coup was unfolding in Niger, the last U.S. security partner in the terrorist-plagued Sahel region and a host to 1,100 American soldiers. The 2021 coup in neighboring Mali heralded the arrival of Russian forces. Will Niger be next?

Read more in the Wall Street Journal.