Wagner Deserter Dmitry Yakushchenko seen strapped with cling tape to a wall before his execution. Photo from IBTimes

The Wagner Group, originally a shadowy organization, has emerged as Russia’s most vital mercenary organization. Conducting the dirty work the Kremlin does not want to be linked to, Wagner has engaged in illicit activities around Africa and is related to civilian massacres in the continent along with Syria and Ukraine.

In Ukraine, Wagner has emerged as arguably the most capable fighting force Russia has, as their professional troops and elite forces have taken significant losses. When Ukraine conducted successful counter-offensives, Putin desperately needed propaganda victories to continue selling the war to the public. This is where Wagner stepped in.

What is Wagner?

The Wagner Group is a private military company (PMC) that operates on behalf of the Kremlin to conduct operations Moscow does not want to be traced back to. The organization is led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close friend and former personal chef of Russian President Vladimir Putin.