The United States ranked, Friday, Russian Wagner Group It is an “international criminal organization”, which increases the pressure on the private military group that is involved in the fighting in Ukraine.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in a press briefing that Wagner “is a criminal organization that continues to commit atrocities and human rights abuses on a massive scale.”
Kirby also said: “The Ministry of Finance classifies Wagner as a dangerous criminal organization in accordance with Decree 13581 and its amendments. Accordingly, next week we will impose additional sanctions against Wagner and their support system on several continents.”
The declaration of Wagner as a transnational criminal organization entails, according to a US executive decision, the freezing of any assets of the group in the United States and the prevention of Americans from providing any money, goods or services to it.
Growing Russian adoption
In addition, Kirby indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly relying on the Russian Wagner forces, noting that about 50,000 of them have been transferred to Ukraine.
He also indicated that reports confirm that tensions between the Russian army and Wagner’s forces are increasing.
“We expect North Korea to continue sending weapons to the Russian Wagner Group,” he added.
It is noteworthy that the Wagner Group, which was founded in 2014, has recruited thousands of prisoners to fight in Russia in return for reducing their sentences.
For years, the Wagner Group has been accused of contributing to the realization of the Kremlin’s foreign ambitions, including in Ukraine, where members of it have been fighting on the front lines in the war waged by Moscow since February.
And last month, the group opened its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city.
In September, the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, revealed for the first time that he founded the Wagner Group in 2014 to fight in Ukraine, and acknowledged its presence in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
He regularly visits the Ukrainian Front, and actively makes statements through his media apparatus.