Many expected the diplomatic relationship between the Russian Federation and the United States to fray when U.S. forces killed hundreds of Russians assaulting a U.S.-held Syrian outpost in early 2018. Yet, the Kremlin quickly distanced itself from the Russian bodies on the far-off Syrian battlefield. These Russians fought on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but they didn’t wear uniforms of the Syrian or Russian militaries. Instead, they worked for entrepreneurial oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group, a private military company.
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