Putin pocketing £80MILLION a month by laundering GOLD to keep the vicious Russian war machine rolling in Ukraine

Putin pocketing £80MILLION a month by laundering GOLD to keep the vicious Russian war machine rolling in Ukraine

VLADIMIR Putin is pocketing £80million a month by laundering gold to feed his bloody war in Ukraine, a new report claims.

Russia’s Wagner mercenaries are helping to wage a secret war to plunder Africa of its resources, evade sanctions and finance bloodshed – and millions are suffering for it.

AFPThe Blood Gold Report has exposed Putin’s huge earnings from shady gold laundering in Africa[/caption]

For years, Wagner and other Kremlin proxy forces have reigned terror across Africa

AFPA crowd carries the haunting black insignia of the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group in Niger[/caption]

APThe shadowy mercenary army is kept at an arm’s length from the Kremlin but does its bidding to secure blood gold[/caption]

The Wagner Group, which for years was ruled by oligarch and warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin until he met his fiery end in August, has spent decades secretly digging their claws into Africa.

Their haunting black insignia has been seen stomping all over democracy and stirring proxy wars across the continent.

Now, the Blood Gold Report has exposed just how lucrative this dirty business is – and how Putin is funding his grinding war of attrition in Ukraine through to its second anniversary.

“It’s quite clear that gold is central to Wagner’s operations on the continent, and a massive source of revenue,” Zoltàn Kész, a leading investigator of the report, told The Sun.

And as Putin reaps the blood-soaked rewards, the “price is being paid in lives across Africa and Ukraine,” said another of the report’s authors, Jessica Berlin.

In 2023, Russia doubled its defence spending to more than £80billion – a third of its entire spending budget – as the cost of its war spiralled and placed a growing strain on Moscow’s finances.

Today, the new report argued that the Kremlin has helped fund its war machine by earning more than £2billion trading African gold since Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, 2022.

Wagner’s resource extraction alone in Africa delivers £80million to the Kremlin each month.

The presence of the murky Kremlin-backed army inside troubled African countries has long been difficult to track.

Wagner militants usually wear no identifiable uniforms, their vehicles are unmarked and their faces masked.

At an arm’s length from the Kremlin – the guns-for-hire provide them with a level of deniability and unpredictability that is essential to their mission.

However, the new report specifically sought to expose Wagner’s “deadly bargains” with authoritarian regimes and Western mining companies.

The authors argued: “In each country it enters, Wagner deploys military trainers, mercenary fighters, and propaganda experts to support anti-democratic regimes, drive instability, and commit human rights abuses.”

The investigation focused specifically on the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan and Mali.

In each case, the report explains how Wagner rolls out a brutal campaign to secure gold.

The ruthless fighters suppress opposition, spread disinformation and pro-Russian propaganda, silence the independent media and unleash terror on civilians.

The murder, maiming and repression of populations appears to be a standard play for Russia’s de-facto army.

The report argued that in CAR and Sudan, Putin has been able to evade sanctions because Wagner have developed complex smuggling routes to move gold out of the countries and convert into cash.

However in Mali, the investigators state that western mining companies do Russia’s job for it by converting gold to cash for Mali’s military junta, which, in turn, pays Wagner.

And it’s a sinister circle.

The goal, the report states, is to increase the Russia’s clients dependence on Wagner.

The more instability and conflict Wagner stir up in these powder keg countries, the more they get paid to crush it and prop up unlawful and corrupt regimes.

“Wagner’s Africa playbook is not greater security, but rather the entrenchment of authoritarianism, the further erosion of democratic institutions, the devastation of civil society and the brutalisation of civilian populations.” 

It is part of “Russia’s wider geopolitical strategy to distract and bog down the democratic West.”

Mostly recently, the poverty-stricken and failed state of Mali has become a zombie host for the Russian state’s spiky tentacles.

And deadly business is booming as Wagner mercenaries are paid £8million a month by the state’s ruling junta to leave a succession of atrocities in their dusty wake.

The Blood Gold Report forms a call for action for countries to break apart “Wagner’s sprawling revenue-generating apparatus in Africa”.

It “demands wider sanctions, new supply chain controls, and real accountability from listed international mining companies that do business with regimes and factions that employ and fund Wagner.”

The report argues this is essential in order to deliver “a major financial blow to the Kremlin” that will benefit both African security and the defence of Ukraine.

“Every government opposed to Russia’s crimes must take action to stop the Blood Gold trade, and pressure gold mining companies and investors to do the same.”

ReutersWagner’s guns-for-hire were loyal to warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin till he met his fiery end in August[/caption]

A Russian flag hangs on a monument to fallen Wagner soldiers in CAR

APWagner troops (pictured in Mali) have been paid £8million a month to reign terror[/caption]

APThe merciless thugs have been stirring up violence, corruption and conflict across the war-ravaged African states[/caption]

APThe French military say they caught the Russian mercenaries burying bodies near an army base in northern Mali[/caption]

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