United States of America (USA) establish Russian Private Military Group, Grup Wagner, as a transnational criminal organization. This designation further pressured the group over fighting private armies Russia the Ukraine.
As reported AFPOn Sunday, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Wagner, which is controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has about 50,000 troops in Ukraine, 80% of which are drawn from jail.
Kirby showed US intelligence photos of North Korea supplying weapons to Wagner for its operations in Ukraine, and said private armies had become Russia’s official military rivals.
The photos, from November 18-19, 2022, show Russian trains entering North Korea, picking up a payload of infantry rockets and missiles, and returning to Russia, Kirby said.
He said the US Treasury Department officially designated Wagner a transnational criminal organization, placing it allied with Italian mafia groups and Japanese and Russian organized crime.
The designation allows for the imposition of broader sanctions on the group’s vast global network, which includes mercenary and business operations in Africa and elsewhere.
“(Wagner) is a criminal organization that commits widespread atrocities and human rights violations,” Kirby said.
“We will work relentlessly to identify, disrupt, expose and target those who assist Wagner,” he said.
Kirby also said the United States had passed its intelligence on North Korea’s purchase of Wagner weapons to the UN Security Council unit on North Korea sanctions.
The transfer of weapons from North Korea is in direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Kirby said. Kirby said there was evidence that Prigozhin’s belief in the relative success of Wagner fighters in Ukraine had created tensions in the Kremlin.