The US imposes sanctions on the Wagner Group and extends existing restrictions. The actions are intended to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia

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The United States imposed additional sanctions on Thursday against the Russian private military company Wagner Group and individuals and entities associated with it. They will cover, inter alia, “key infrastructure”, arms manufacturers and people in charge of the occupied territories of Ukraine, assigned by the aggressor. The American authorities also extended the existing sanctions against the mercenary formation, which was considered a “significant international criminal organization”.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken released a statement on Thursday saying thatUnited States impose sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group and its head Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The funds will cover the “key infrastructure” of the private army and its associated front companies, Russian arms manufacturers and individuals who have been assigned to administer the Russian-occupied Russia areas Ukraine. “This action supports our goal of lowering Moscow’s ability to wage war against Ukraine, promoting the accountability of those responsible for Russia’s war and related abuses, and putting further pressure on the Russian defense sector,” the statement reads.

New sanctions

As part of the announced actions, sanctions were imposed on 16 people and 31 entities associated with the Wagner Group, Russian oligarchs and the defense sector.

The declaration freezes any U.S. assets the Wagner Group may own and prohibits Americans from providing funds, goods, or services to this mercenary military company.

Headquarters of the Wagner Group technology center in Saint PetersburgReuters Archive

The restrictions apply to companies registered in Russia, China, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the Central African Republic, which provide services to the Wagnerian forces, e.g. by providing them with satellite photos or transport planes. Prison officials involved in recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine in the ranks of the Wagner Group were also sanctioned. In addition, the list of sanctions includes companies involved in the transport of arms, supplying communication systems and circumventing sanctions for the benefit of the Russian defense industry.

The United States also aimed this weapon at the heads of Kalashnikov and Almaz-Antey concerns. The restrictions also affected Rustam Minnikhanov, the long-time leader of Tatarstan, one of the Russian republics, as well as a number of entities associated with one of the richest Russians, Vladimir Potanin. The State Department also banned the entry to the US of another 531 Russian soldiers participating in the Russian invasion.

The Wagner Group as an “international criminal organization”

Blinken said Thursday that the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) “designates the Wagner Group as a significant international criminal organization.”

“The Wagner Group’s pattern of serious criminal behavior includes the brutal harassment of journalists, aid workers and members of minority groups, and the harassment, obstruction and intimidation of UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as rapes and killings in Mali,” the statement said.

Wagnerites were further sanctioned for being responsible for or complicity in “attacking women, children, or civilians by committing acts of violence, kidnapping, forced eviction, or attacking schools, hospitals, places of worship, or locations where civilians seek refuge, or by behaving that would constitute a serious abuse or infringement human rights or a violation of international humanitarian law in relation to the Central African Republic.”

Sanctions ‘will make it harder for Putin to arm and equip his war machine’

“The United States is steadfast in its determination against Russian aggression and other destabilizing behavior around the world. Today’s appointments will further hamper the Kremlin’s ability to arm its war machine, which is engaged in an aggressive war against Ukraine and which, without scruples caused death and destruction,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“Today’s expanded sanctions on the Wagner Group, as well as new sanctions on their associates and other companies supporting the Russian military complex, will make it even more difficult for Putin to arm and equip his war machine,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

Main photo source: mil.ru



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