U.S. Designates Wagner Group as Transnational Criminal Organization, Sanctions Its Network
The Biden Administration on Thursday formally designated the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization run by Putin's confidant Yevgeny Prigogin, as a significant transnational criminal organization, and imposed a slew of sanctions on a transnational network that supports it, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.
"This action supports our goal to degrade Moscow’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine, to promote accountability for those responsible for Russia’s war of aggression and associated abuses, and to place further pressure on Russia’s defense sector," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The State Department sanctioned the following:
— Heads of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service, an agency that has reportedly facilitated the recruitment of Russian prisoners into the Wagner Group.
- A financier to Putin
- A deputy prime minister, also serves as the Minister of Industry and Trade
- The chairman of the Election Commission of the Rostov Region.
- A network tied to an already-sanctioned Russian oligarch.
The department also announced it will take steps to impose visa restrictions on 531 members of the Russian military associated with the assault on Ukraine.
The Treasury Department, in its turn, announced sanctions on the following:
- Putin allies and their family members.
- A number of individuals and companies tied to Moscow’s defense industrial complex.
- Two people involved with Russia’s attempts to annex parts of Ukraine.
The Wagner Group’s pattern of serious criminal behavior "includes violent harassment of journalists and aid workers among others, rape and sexual assault in the Central African Republic, as well as rape and killing in Mali." the State Department said.
They are" a deeply destabilizing entity," as Vedant Patel, Department's principal deputy spokesperson, put it during a daily press conference.
"We are steadfast in our resolve against Russia’s aggression and other destabilizing behaviors worldwide, and today’s designation will further impede the Kremlin’s ability to arm its war machine that is entangled in a war of aggression against Ukraine and which has caused unconscionable death and destruction" Patel said in response to TURAN's questions.
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