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Russia's Shadow Army in Africa

Why are governments across Africa working with the Wagner Group and what does this mean for peace and stability on the continent? Elizabeth Shackelford and Federica Saini Fasanotti discuss.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference with Mali's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdoulaye Diop, in Moscow, Russia.
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About the Episode

Mercenaries from the Wagner Group have been in the headlines recently for their alleged role in war crimes in Ukraine. But the Kremlin-linked paramilitary group has been active in Africa for several years, where it provides a wide range of services to governments across the continent. For this week's Deep Dish, the Council’s Elizabeth Shackelford is joined by Federica Saini Fasanotti of the Institute for International Political Studies in Milan to discuss how Wagner’s growing footprint in Africa supports Russia’s strategic and commercial interests. 

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About the Experts
Senior Associate, Institute for International Political Studies
Federica Saini Fasanotti is a nonresident fellow in the Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. She is also a senior associate at ISPI in Milan. She is a historian specialized in counterinsurgency and asymmetric wars. Her fieldwork and research have covered, among others, Afghanistan, Libya, and the Horn of Africa.
Senior Fellow, US Foreign Policy
Council staff Elizabeth Shackelford
Elizabeth Shackelford, a former career US diplomat who served at the US Mission to Somalia and the US Embassy in South Sudan, joined the Council in 2021. Her work focuses on building awareness and understanding of a "restraint" approach to foreign policy, which seeks to limit the use of military force to the defense of core US national security interests and favors robust diplomatic engagement.
Council staff Elizabeth Shackelford

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