US extends sanctions against Wagner group

The US has expanded its sanctions against the Russian mercenary group Wagner. Various international affiliates related to the group are also affected.

The US government has expanded its sanctions against the private Russian mercenary company Wagner Group and companies and individuals associated with it. This was announced by the finance and foreign ministries.

The background is the role of the troops in the war in Ukraine and their activities in Africa, including human rights violations. At the same time, the Wagner Group was again classified as a “significant transnational criminal organization”. Dozens of subsidiaries of the Wagner Group are also affected, including some in the Central African Republic and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the president of the Russian Kalashnikov Group.

The sanctions also hit the Chinese company Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute, also known as Spacety China, which has supplied Wagner Group companies with satellite images of Ukraine and thus supported Wagner’s military operations there. A branch of Spacety China in Luxembourg was also subject to sanctions.

Assets frozen in the US

The Wagner Group is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a millionaire with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The sanctions will freeze any assets of those named in the United States, and US citizens are not allowed to do business with them.

The Kremlin is desperate for arms and support – “including from the brutal Wagner Group – to continue its unjust war against Ukraine,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The new sanctions made it even more difficult for Putin to “arm and equip his war machine.”

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said the move was aimed at weakening Moscow’s ability to wage war against Ukraine and to hold accountable those responsible for Russian aggression and related abuses.

Around 50,000 fighters are currently deployed in the ranks of the private army in Ukraine, according to the US government’s National Security Council. Among them are 10,000 mercenaries and 40,000 prisoners who Prigozhin recruited from Russian prisons. The FBI has also issued a manhunt for Putin’s confidante in the United States for interfering in the US presidential election.

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