The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday designated the Wagner Group, a Russian private mercenary organization heavily involved in the war in Ukraine, as a major transnational criminal organization and imposed a number of sanctions on the transnational networks that support it.
According to Secretary of State Antony Brinken, the U.S. State Department also intends to “cover a range of Wagner’s major infrastructure, including the airlines used by Wagner, Wagner’s propaganda organizations, and Wagner’s front companies.” announced a number of sanctions.
“As Russian forces struggled on the battlefield, Putin turned to the Wagner Group to continue the war of his choosing. , has committed widespread human rights abuses and robbed its citizens of natural resources,” the Ministry of Finance said in a press release.
In addition to the measures targeted at the Wagner group previewed by the White House last week, both agencies have announced sanctions against a broad group of individuals and companies linked to Russia’s war in Ukraine. It is the latest US punitive action against the Kremlin and its proxies as the presidential war approaches its second year with no signs of abating.
“This action undermines Russia’s ability to wage war against Ukraine, promotes accountability for those responsible for Russia’s war of aggression and related human rights violations, and puts further pressure on Russia’s defense sector. It supports the target,” Blinken said in a statement.
The Treasury Department has announced sanctions against a number of individuals and companies associated with Moscow’s defense-industrial complex, Putin’s allies and their families, and two people involved in Russia’s attempt to annex parts of Ukraine.
The State Department also announced sanctions against “three individuals for their roles as heads of the Russian Federal Prison Service, which reportedly facilitated the recruitment of Russian prisoners to the Wagner Group.” “Industry and Trade”, “Chairman of the Rostov Region Electoral Commission”, a network linked to already sanctioned Russian oligarchs and Putin’s financiers, says Blinken.
Additionally, the State Department announced it would take steps to impose visa restrictions “on 531 members of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for actions that threaten or violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence.”
The National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby, who last week previewed the designation of a major international criminal organization and upcoming sanctions against the Wagner Group, told reporters on Friday: ”
Among the companies licensed by the Ministry of Finance in connection with the Wagner Group and its leader Evgeny Prigozin is the joint-stock company Terra Tech. Images acquired by unmanned systems”, and “China-based entities that provided orders for Terratech synthetic aperture radar satellite imagery at Ukrainian locations”.
“These images were collected to enable Wagner’s combat operations in Ukraine.
In addition to the sanctions related to the Wagner Group’s material involvement in the war in Ukraine, the Treasury Department has imposed sanctions for the Wagner Group’s misconduct in the Central African Republic. The group is “responsible for, complicit in, or involved in targeting women, children, or civilians through violence, abduction, forced eviction, or attacks on schools and hospitals.” redesignated as , religious establishments, places where civilians have sought refuge, or through acts that constitute gross human rights violations or violations related to CAR, or violations of international humanitarian law. ”