In a new opinion piece in TIME Magazine last week, George Clooney, John Prendergast, and Justyna Gudzowska warn that a brutal campaign by the Kremlin-linked mercenary firm the Wagner Group to access gold and other assets from Africa could prove to be a “lifeline” for the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

In their op-ed, Clooney and Prendergast, Co-Founders of The Sentry, and Gudzowska, Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry, detail how the Wagner Group has deployed to hot spots around the world, including Libya, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mali, and Syria, offering a “security shield” for corrupt leaders in exchange for access to gold and other valuable resources.

The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which George and Amal Clooney co-founded.

Key excerpts from the op-ed:
“The more successful the economic war on Russia is, the more the Kremlin will rely on plundered African resources as a means of evading sanctions and keeping the Russian war machine going.”

“Russia’s Africa strategy is clear: through the private military proxy, it sets up shop in countries with unstable political and security environments and high levels of corruption; it forges opportunistic relationships with powerbrokers in the government or security services; it provides training to state security forces and non-state armed groups alike; it carries out missions marked by atrocities; and it maintains strong, if quiet, links to the Kremlin, conducting operations that directly support Putin’s geopolitical objectives.”

“Africa might seem remote from the current war in Ukraine; worse yet, some may disregard Africa as a strategic priority for the US. But make no mistake: Putin and his allies favor kleptocracy. They thrive on corruption.”

You can read the full op-ed here.

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