According to the online leak of top secret US documents about the situation in Ukraine, it appears that the US has gained access to the internal plans of the notorious Russian mercenary group Wagner, which, among other things, has tried to buy weapons from Turkey, a NATO member state. As reported by The Washington Post, referring to classified documents that appeared online, in early February Wagner personnel met “with Turkish contacts to purchase weapons and equipment from Turkey for operations in Mali and Ukraine.” The report also notes that the interim head of Mali’s military junta, Asimi Guetta, “confirmed that Mali may obtain weapons from Turkey on Wagner’s behalf.”
It is not clear from the documents whether and to what extent the Turkish government was aware of the Russian mercenary attempts or whether they were successful. But the revelation that a NATO ally may have aided Russia in its war against Ukraine could prove explosive, especially since Turkey sought to prevent Sweden from joining the alliance, the Washington Post wrote.
A Turkish government spokesman declined to comment on the newspaper’s leaks. The Mali embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment from the American newspaper. Two more pages of the leaked intelligence dossier speak of Wagner’s plans to recruit Russian prisoners to be sent to the front lines in Ukraine and suggest that the Russian military is now reliant on mercenaries. Like the report on the meetings in which Turkey participated, these files also indicate that the sources come from “intelligence”, referring to the interception of electronic communications and communications. Officials generally consider them to be among the most productive forms of information gathering, but potentially corrupt if disclosed.
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