The United States on Friday designated Russia’s paramilitary Wagner Group as a “transnational criminal organization,” increasing pressure on this private army that is fighting in different parts of the terrain in Ukraine.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Wagner was “a criminal organization that continues to commit atrocities and human rights abuses on a massive scale.”
Many Western governments describe the group as mercenaries and are accused of leading human rights abuses. Headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, this paramilitary organization is engaged in the fierce battle to capture the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
The United States considers that Wagner “currently has about 50,000 personnel deployed in Ukraine, including 10,000 mercenaries and 40,000 prisoners.” Washington hopes to take further action against the group after it is blacklisted.
Kirby also said he released satellite images showing Russian trains heading to North Korea to stockpile equipment to supply the Wagner Group, in violation of UN resolutions.
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