Russia Uses Mercenaries to Project Power Far From Its Troubles in Ukraine

MALI-MAURITANIA BORDER—The leaders of Mali’s junta gathered at Bamako airport earlier this month to hail the latest delivery from their new benefactor: the Kremlin.

On the northern end of the airstrip stood a line of attack aircraft, including Russian jet fighters and helicopter gunships to send to the front line of a decadelong war against jihadists, according to footage of the ceremony on Malian state television. On the southern end, out of sight, was the swelling base of Wagner Group, the Kremlin-linked military company that has deployed some 1,000 mercenaries into Mali in exchange for cash and the potential for lucrative mining concessions.

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