The United States has accused Russia-backed Wagner mercenary group of exploiting Africa’s natural resources to help fund Moscow’s war in Ukraine and elsewhere, a claim that Russia denies and instead accuses the US of stealing Syrian oil.
”One of the most immediate and growing concerns in Africa is the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group’s strategy of exploiting the natural resources of the Central African Republic, Mali and Sudan as well as other countries,” the US envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the UN Security Council.
”These ill-gotten gains are used to fund Moscow’s war machine in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine,” she added. Wagner Group, widely referred to as a Russian private military company, has reportedly operated in Ukraine, Syria and Libya and some African countries including Mali and the Central African Republic.
“Make no mistake: people across Africa are paying a heavy price for the Wagner Group’s exploitative practices and human rights violations,” Thomas-Greenfield told a UN Security Council meeting on the financing of armed groups through illicit trafficking of natural resources in Africa.
She called on the 15-member Security Council to investigate and clamp down on those who exploit natural resources and fund armed conflicts and terrorism.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia denied the claims by his American counterpart and instead accused the US of “stealing oil on the pretext of countering terrorism.“ The Russian envoy then sought to explain how the US goes about this: “At first, they picked a company with a rather obscure background that was supposed to do this. But then, when even Washington’s allies thought the situation was scandalous, the American side got back to robbing Syria of its resources in another way — through the US military.“