Russia Uses Mercenaries to Project Power Far From Its Troubles in Ukraine

MALI-MAURITANIA BORDER—The leaders of Mali’s junta gathered at Bamako airport earlier this month to hail the most recent supply from their new benefactor: the Kremlin.

On the northern finish of the airstrip stood a line of assault plane, together with Russian jet fighters and helicopter gunships to ship to the entrance line of a decadelong struggle in opposition to jihadists, in response to footage of the ceremony on Malian state tv. On the southern finish, out of sight, was the swelling base of Wagner Group, the Kremlin-linked army firm that has deployed some 1,000 mercenaries into Mali in change for money and the potential for profitable mining concessions.