On Saturday 24 June 2023, Russia woke up to a military mutiny. The Wagner Group, a Russian private military organisation that has played a central role in the current Ukrainian conflict, had started marching back across the Ukrainian border into Russia (Maguire, 2023). This was announced on the Telegram channel of Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, while Russian channels initially did not release an official statement (Maguire, 2023)
This Info Flash examines the recent history and attempts to regulate mercenaries on national and international levels, the history of Russian mercenaries, and the implications of the use of mercenaries in Ukraine. There is a focus on the Wagner Group, which has grown in importance due to the group’s recent size increase and its leadership’s growing influence in the Kremlin. Targeting these groups through their finances and contracts is a good way for the West to counter their activities in Africa and the Middle East.