The military transitional government of Mali is expected to announce a deal with the Russian Wagner Group to combat the Islamic jihadist movements that are spreading violence across the country. 

Moscow has confirmed the deal. Nevertheless, it stated that it had nothing to do with the negotiations as Mali approached Wagner directly. Moscow said that Mali feels it is effectively being banned by France which decided to unilaterally withdraw from the country.

Mali will hire 1,000 Wagner Group mercenaries to help fight ISIS jihadists in the Greater Sahara, which is believed to have at least several hundred fighters in the region. Wagner will also face off against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Nusrat al-Islam, officially known as Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wal al-Muslimin (JNIM). 

Mali will pay the company $10.8 million a month, according to a Reuters report.