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Russia’s private military force, explained

Inside the Wagner Group’s playbook.

On January 10, 2023, the Ukrainian town of Soledar was reportedly captured. But it wasn’t captured by the Russian army under Vladimir Putin’s command. The announcement came from a relatively unknown man, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who said his troops now controlled the town. The troops are part of the Wagner Group, a private army that has become a prominent force alongside Russian troops in the war against Ukraine.

But they aren’t new. They’ve been secretly fighting for Russia around the world since 2014. In this video, we take a look at their playbook and examine the three main steps they use to spread Russian influence around the world in brutal ways. We also look at how they’ve transformed from a ghost army to a recognizable private military group with insignias and an online brand, changing the nature of this secret group and its role in the world.

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