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Putin ally fighting to control salt and gypsum mines near Ukraine city of Bakhmut, says US

Officials believe Yevgeny Prigozhin – owner of the private military Wagner Group – is vying for natural resources to help fund Russia’s war

A close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is interested in taking control of salt and gypsum from mines near the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to a White House official.

Yevgeny Prigozhin is the founder of Russia’s most powerful mercenary force, the Wagner Group. Wagner has played a key role in the Russian offensive against Bakhmut.

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