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Migrant boom linked to Wagner mercenaries says Crosetto

Migrant boom linked to Wagner mercenaries says Crosetto

Russian mercenary strategy in some African countries says defence minister; Tajani also points finger at group

ROME, 13 March 2023, 20:02

Redazione ANSA




The current migrant boom which is hitting Italy harder than other countries is due to pressure from the activity of Russian-paid Wagner mercenaries in Africa, Defence Minister Guido Crosetto and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Monday.
    Crosetto said the rise in migrant departures from Africa is at least partially due to the strategy being employed by the Wagner group in a number of African countries.
    "It seems to me that by now it is safe to say that the exponential increase in the migratory phenomenon from the African coasts is also, to a not inconsiderable extent, part of a clear strategy of hybrid warfare that the Wagner division, mercenaries in the pay of Russia, is implementing, using its considerable weight in some African countries", said Crosetto.
    Tajani, for his part, speaking after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, said: The minister went on to emphasise "concern" about the fact that "many migrants come from areas controlled by the Wagner group. I would not like there to be an attempt to push migrants towards Italy".
    Tajani added: "The immigration issue cannot be just an Italian issue.
    "I found great understanding for what is happening in Italy regarding immigration on the part of Netanyahu".
    Crosetto, for his part, went on: "The EU, NATO, and the West, just as they realised that cyber attacks were part of the global clash that the Ukrainian conflict opened up, should now understand that the southern European front is also becoming more dangerous every day. They should also realise that uncontrolled and continuous immigration, added to the economic and social crisis, is becoming a way to hit the most exposed countries, first and foremost Italy, and their geostrategic choices, clear and sharp".
    "The Atlantic Alliance," he added, "is consolidated if we also share the problems that arise from collective choices, but it runs the risk of cracking if the countries most exposed to retaliation of various kinds (such as opening the immigration 'taps' by some states) are left alone".


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