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US designates Russia’s Wagner group a transnational criminal organization

A chevron of Wagner Group, a unit of Russian military intelligence (fka GRU) posing as a private military company used to conduct combat operations abroad as part of Russia's hybrid warfare.
A chevron of Wagner Group, a unit of Russian military intelligence (fka GRU) posing as a private military company used to conduct combat operations abroad as part of Russia’s hybrid warfare.
US designates Russia’s Wagner group a transnational criminal organization

On 26 January, the US Treasury Department introduced new sanctions against the Russian mercenary group Wagner and officially designated it as a transnational criminal organization, according to the press release by the US Treasury Department.

The US Treasury Department labeled Russia’s Wagner private military company (PMC) as a transnational criminal organization responsible for widespread human rights abuses and war crimes. Wagner personnel have engaged in an ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity, including mass executions, rape, child abductions, and physical abuse in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali, the US Treasury Department stated in its press release issued on 26 January 2023. New sanctions will be imposed against PMC Wagner which actively aids the Russian regular army in the invasion of Ukraine.

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The US-imposed sanctions will target Wagner’s key infrastructure across the world, including an aviation firm used by Wagner, a Wagner propaganda organization, and Wagner front companies, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed.

“As Russia’s military has struggled on the battlefield, Putin has resorted to relying on the Wagner Group to continue his war of choice. The Wagner Group has also meddled and destabilized countries in Africa, committing widespread human rights abuses and extorting natural resources from their people,” the US Treasury Department stated.

Early before, the US released newly declassified photos of Russian railcars traveling from Russia to North Korea and back in November, in what the US believes was the initial delivery of infantry rockets and missiles for use by the mercenary organization Wagner Group in Ukraine.

Apart from new sanctions against Wagner,  the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took additional steps to degrade Russia’s capacity to wage the war against Ukraine by sanctioning six individuals and 12 entities, including producers of Russia’s weapons and those administering Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.


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