On Monday, the US ambassador to the United Nations issued a warning, stating that if Russia’s Wagner Group were to launch an attack on NATO, it would be regarded as an attack by Russia itself.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the remarks while briefing reporters in New York on various issues including ending famine, combating food insecurity in conflicts and defending human rights.
Asked about the presence of Wagner Group mercenaries on the Polish border and whether she sees them as a real threat to NATO, she said: “We certainly worry that this group, at the behest of the Russian government – because they do not work independently of the Russian government – is a threat to all of us.”
She emphasized that the message should be clear that “any attack by the Wagner Group will be seen as an attack by the Russian government.”
Noting that Russia has said directly that they may attack civilian ships using the Black Sea, Thomas-Greenfield said these are not actions that are expected of a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
In late June, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian army of attacking the group’s fighters and declared a “March of Justice,” saying his forces had set off toward Moscow.
The Russian Federal Security Service designated the group’s action as “an armed rebellion” and opened a criminal case against Prigozhin, while President Vladimir Putin called the private military company’s uprising an act of treason.
Prigozhin later turned back “to avoid bloodshed” and an agreement with Putin was negotiated through Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Before joining Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, Wagner had been working for some time in several African countries including the Central African Republic and Mali.