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CNN exposes secret private military group that does Putin’s bidding around the world

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On Monday, CNN reporter Clarissa Ward explained the shadowy operations of the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization that experts believe is under the control of the Kremlin — and which is used to exert Russia’s might and disrupt politics around the world.

“I think everybody knows by now that hybrid warfare is one of the most valuable tools Russian President Vladimir Putin has in his arsenal, whether it’s misinformation campaigns, election meddling as the U.S. saw in the 2016 election or increasingly the use of mercenaries,” said Ward. “Russian mercenaries are popping up, as we learned, in countries across the globe, often unstable countries, they’re being used to boost Russian influence, but also to outmaneuver geopolitical rivals such as the U.S.”

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“Officially, the Kremlin says they have nothing to do with mercenary groups whatsoever,” said Ward. “But we sat down in a television first with a former fighter with notorious Wagner Group, and he told us a very different story.”

“I’m a mercenary,” said “Oleg,” a former Syrian fighter in the pay of Wagner, in a CNN interview through a translator. “90 percent of participants of the company were like me, motivated by money.”

Ward noted that Wagner, despite Russia denying its existence, now has “hundreds of fighters operating on three different continents” — all allegedly in the pay of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Putin ally who also helped fund the troll farm used to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“CNN traveled to the remote Russian village of Molchino, to try to get to his training camp, and found that the group has a surprisingly close relationship with the Russian military,” said Ward. “The only way to get into the Wagner barracks is to get through that checkpoint, which is manned by the Russian military, because this actually belongs to a Russian special forces unit.”

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“Not far from Molchino, there is a monument to fallen Wagner fighters. Visitors are not welcome, so we approach with a hidden camera,” continued Molchino. “A guard soon comes up to us … He begins to get suspicious of our questions, and we decide to leave. They didn’t let us inside, which is not surprising, because in that compound is the only tangible, visible proof that Wagner is real.”

“No surprise, perhaps, that the monument is funded by an Prigozhin-owned company,” said Ward. “It was five years ago in Crimea that mysterious unidentified fighters dubbed ‘little green men’ helped wrest the province from Ukraine, even as the Kremlin feigned ignorance. It was a success, and Moscow’s use of mercenary forces has since grown. Analysts say none of this could happen without Putin’s approval.”

“Russia is trying to suppress the U.S.,” said Oleg. “In every way possible using legal and illegal means. It’s trying to smash it, get the better of it somehow. What will come of it as a result? Nothing good, I think.”

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“But for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wagner is still a worthwhile gamble, an expendable fighting force with no accountability,” concluded Ward.

Watch below:

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

He’s trying ‘to get under Trump’s skin’: Reporter Olivia Nuzzi outlines Joe Walsh’s impact on 2020

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Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton explained during an MSNBC panel discussion that former Rep. Joe Walsh isn't likely to peel away many voters from Trump as someone who is "Trump-light." New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi, however, thinks Walsh with have a more significant impact, whether or not he can win the primary race.

During a CNN panel discussion, Nuzzi similarly noted that Walsh's primary purpose could be to troll the president.

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CNN

Boris Johnson ‘tremendously humiliated’ Donald Trump on a global scale at G-7 meeting: CNN analyst

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United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of President Donald Trump's favorite people to take over for Theresa May when she resigned this summer. But Johnson also mocked the U.S. president and humiliated him on a global scale, said New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi.

During a panel discussion on CNN Sunday, CNN's Ryan Lizza opened by saying that Johnson is in a tight spot as he's trying to negotiate Brexit while serving as an international leader to the G-7. Johnson also needs to negotiate a trade deal with Trump, but he clearly is going about it in the worst possible way.

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CNN

‘That’s total nonsense’: Bill Kristol punches Santorum right between the eyes on Trump’s failing trade policy

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CNN contributor Rick Santorum said he was personally offended on Sunday after conservative writer Bill Kristol attacked President Donald Trump's trade policy.

During a segment about Trump's trade war with China, Kristol noted that the president seems "demoralized" and "depressed."

"His economists have told him privately we're slowing down and we're at some risk of toppling into a recession," Kristol explained. "His political people have told him his numbers are going down not up."

The conservative writer pointed to Trump's racist attacks on black lawmakers as one mistake he has made.

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