The Wagner Group, also known as PMC Wagner, ChVK Wagner, or CHVK Vagner, is a Russian paramilitary organization. It is variously described as a private military company (PMC), a network of mercenaries, or a de facto private army of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Officially the group does not exist. Various elements of Wagner have been linked to Neo-Nazis and far-right extremists.
A group of UN experts said the Wagner Group was involved in "grave human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law" alongside local armed forces in the Central African Republic. "Among the violations are reports of mass summary executions, arbitrary detentions, torture during interrogations, forced disappearances, forced displacement of the civilian population, indiscriminate targeting of civilian facilities, violations of the right to health and increasing attacks on humanitarian actors," the experts said in a statement. Also last year, a UN report found "reasonable grounds to believe that Wagner personnel may have committed the war crime of murder" in Libya. In 2020, the Pentagon said it had evidence that Wagner Group mercenaries had planted landmines and other explosives in Libya. "The Wagner Group's irresponsible tactics are prolonging conflict and are responsible for the needless suffering and the deaths of innocent civilians. Russia has the power to stop them, just not the will," Bradford Gering, the deputy director of operations for US Africa Command, said at the time. And just last week, Human Rights Watch said suspected Russian mercenaries were allegedly involved in a massacre in Mali where an estimated 300 civilian men were "summarily executed. " "The incident is the worst single atrocity reported in Mali's decade-long armed conflict," it said in a statement.