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We Now Know How Russia Would ‘Fight’ a Shadow War Against America

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151023-USAN-2994B-014 – SIERRA DEL RETIN, Spain – A Dutch Marine sniperfires a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle during live fire target practice in Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2015. The Royal Netherlands Navy is being certified to lead the amphibious forces in the 2016 NATO Response Force. Ships in Task Group 445.03 include the landing platform dock (LPD) HNLMSJOHAN DE WITT, the frigate HNLMS TROMP, the hydrographic survey vessel HNLMS SNELLIUS, and Dutch Marines. Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Commander David Benham (Released)

Recently, the inner workings of a shadowy Russian mercenary group came to light when a Samsung tablet containing sensitive information was recovered in Libya.

A BBC investigation got ahold of the device, which had been used by members of Wagner Group.

Wagner Group doesn’t officially exist, but the tablet revealed its extensive presence in the North African country and the group’s “shopping list” of weapons.

What’s Wagner Group?

Created in the early 2010s, Wagner Group is a paramilitary mercenary group composed mostly of former Russian military personnel that trains local forces, conducts combat advising, and provides direct-action services.

Wagner Group was introduced to the world in 2014 with the invasion and annexation of Crimea and the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine.

Roughly 10,000 mercenaries have worked with the paramilitary group, often for short, conflict-based contracts. According to the BBC investigation, some have prior criminal backgrounds, making it hard for them to join the regular Russian military. Instead they choose mercenary work that could earn them 10 times the average Russian salary.

The group has very close ties to the Kremlin. It was created by Dmitry Utkin, a former Russian military special operator, and is allegedly funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and confidant of President Vladimir Putin. The US Justice Department has indicted Prigozhin in relation to Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Those working for Wagner Group are careful not to leave any paper trail or refer by name to those who run the paramilitary organization.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.