(IntegrityPress.org) – According to an intelligence report that some media outlets have received, the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization engaged in fighting in Ukraine, tried to buy weapons and equipment from Turkey, a member of NATO. This suggests the lengths that the Wagner Group is willing to go to strengthen its capabilities as the war in Ukraine continues. Turkey has officially voiced opposition to Russia’s invasion and is seen as a partner nation by the US and other nations that directly support Ukraine militarily.
As a warning to dissuade Russian aggression against NATO countries, Turkey even also has a significant US military base where nuclear warheads are stored. Wagner Group mercs met with “contacts” they had in Turkey in early February in order to obtain weapons and equipment from them, according to US signals intelligence reporting that is included in the dossier. It is not really known who these contacts were or if Turkey was aware of the meetings at all. There is no evidence to suggest that Turkey has sold arms to the Wagner Group, which would make the relationship between Ankara and the other NATO members complicated, and such a scenario would also cause great anxiety in Washington.
The leaked document also suggests that the Wagner Group planned to use the weapons and equipment in Mali, where the group has a significant presence, and to resume recruitment of prisoners from Russia’s jails. While the veracity of the document has not been confirmed, US officials have indicated that most of the leaked tranche is authentic. Actively studying and evaluating the veracity of the leaked materials are the US Department of Defense and the intelligence community.
The government of Turkey has expressed that it is against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it has maintained close ties to the government in Moscow, unlike many NATO allies. The Turkish government has occasionally used these connections to pressure Russia to stop the conflict. One example of this is when the Turkish government brokered a deal to permit the safe movement of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea without Russian intimidation.
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