The paramilitary group Wagner will continue to operate in Mali and the Central African Republic, the head of Russian diplomacy assured us on Monday, adding that the organization's rebellion in Russia will not affect relations between Moscow and its allies.
Wagner members are working in Mali and the Central African Republic "as instructors. This work will of course continue", said Sergei Lavrov in an interview with RT.
The Russian minister said that Europe and France "having abandoned the CAR and Mali", these countries had turned to Russia and Wagner to provide military instructors and "ensure the security of their leaders".
For the West, Wagner is an instrument of Russian influence, designed to advance Moscow's interests and compete with those of the Europeans. The armed group is also accused of committing atrocities wherever it is deployed, and of extorting natural resources.
Mr. Lavrov also took the view that the armed rebellion of Wagner's leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and his men deployed in Ukraine would change nothing in Russia's relations with its allies.
"There have been many calls (from foreign partners) to President (Vladimir) Putin (...) to express words of support," he said.
"With partners and friends, no (it doesn't change anything, ed. note). As for other (countries), frankly, I don't care. Relations with the collective West are destroyed, so one episode more or less...", the diplomat felt.