US considered targeting Russia’s Wagner commanders in Africa
US officials have reportedly considered killing commanders from the Russian private military company, Wagner, who are stationed in Africa.
According to documents leaked by a US guardsman and obtained by The Washington Post, US officials have looked at a range of scenarios for “coordinated US and allied disruption efforts” against Wagner, including “kinetic” options, in an effort to curb the group’s growing influence in Africa.
The United States has been alarmed by the rapid expansion of Russia’s influence in Africa, prompting a push to target Wagner’s network of bases and business fronts with strikes, sanctions and cyber attacks.
The leaks also indicated that the US had considered providing information to assist Ukraine in targeting Wagner commanders in Africa.
Although the files did mention a “successful unattributed attack in Libya” that destroyed a Wagner logistics plane, they provided little evidence that the CIA, Pentagon, or other US agencies had caused significant setbacks for Wagner in the past six years.
The Post also reported, based on the leaked documents, that Ukraine's military intelligence service, the GUR, and its head, Kirill Budanov, planned an attack on Wagner officers in Mali.
The newspaper described Budanov as an ambitious rising star in the Ukrainian military, whose audacity often makes American and European officials nervous.
Since the start of the Ukraine war last February, Wagner has been preoccupied with fighting in the former Soviet state.
Wagner fighters have spearheaded the assault in eastern Ukraine for months, focusing their efforts on the small city of Bakhmut, which Russia sees as a stepping stone to seize bigger cities like Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.
The group has made small but steady gains against Ukrainian troops fighting for the frontline town in the Donetsk region.