January 20, 2023 18:29 GMT
White House Announces Sanctions On Russian Wagner Group
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White House National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby has announced the US is pursing a new raft of sanctions on Russian private military contractor, the Wagner Group.
- Kirby says the US is designating the Wagner Group as a "significant transnational criminal organisation" and additional sanctions will be forthcoming next week.
- Kirby: "As his military struggles in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly turning to Wagner, which is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, for military support."
- "We are seeing indications tensions between Wagner and the Russian Ministry of Defence are increasing. Wagner is becoming a rival center to the Russian military."
- "Publicly, Prigozhin and his fighters have criticised the Russian military and its generals for its performance on the battlefield."
- "Prigozhin is trying to advance his own interests in Ukraine and Wagner is making military decision based largely on what it will generate for Prigozhin."
- "We continue to assess that Wagner currently had approximately 50,00 personnel in Ukraine... our information indicates that the Russian Defence Ministry has reservations about Wagners recruitment methods [including recruiting directly out of prisons]."
- Kirby releases imagery appearing to show evidence of the Wagner group sourcing weapons from North Korea.