Front Burner

Wagner Group: Putin's 'shadow private army'

Today on Front Burner, Wagner Group, the brutal Russian mercenaries that have advanced the interests of the Kremlin for years, is coming out of the shadows to fight for Russia in Ukraine.
A person in military garb leaves a building.
A person wearing a camouflage uniform walks out of an office for the Wagner Group, a private military organization, in St. Petersburg, Russia, in November 2022. (Igor Russak/Reuters)

Wagner Group is a private army that's been violently advancing Russian interests internationally – but in the shadows – for years. 

Now as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has stalled, the fighters-for-hire have taken centre stage to fight on Russia's side. The mercenaries have been involved in some of the bloodiest battles of the entire war.

Mary Ilyushina is a reporter covering Russia for the Washington Post. Today on Front Burner, she joins guest host Jodie Martinson to explain the evolution, and growing influence, of the Wagner Group in Russia and other parts of the world.

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