The US designates the Wagner Group, “Putin’s private army,” as a “transnational criminal organization.”

The United States will designate the Wagner Group, the private army of mercenaries serving Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine war, as a “transnational criminal organization” next week. Announce this on Friday John Kirby A spokesman for the White House National Security Council, who defended that Wagner “posed a transcontinental danger” and accused him of a “pattern of dangerous criminal activity”.

The appointment will be made by the Treasury Department, which will result in sanctions for both Wagner and his support networks on the continents on which he operates. With these actions, and others to come, our message to any company considering supporting Wagner is as follows: Wagner is a criminal organization who commit atrocities and human rights abuses and we will work tirelessly to identify, detect and attack those who assist Wagner.” The sanctions would freeze any assets that Wagner members have in the United States and prevent US companies or individuals from doing business with the organization.

Wagner has been playing a prominent role since the beginning of the Ukrainian war, which is one year old at the end of next month and has only grown in recent months. Their leader is the Russian oligarchYevgeny Prigozhin, He is nicknamed “Putin’s Chef” because his catering company – one of his many – organizes state receptions for the Russian president.

The mercenary army has taken part in conflicts around the world – from Syria to various African countries – and called on Putin to the Ukrainian front.

According to American data, Wagner has 50,000 fighters in Ukraine: 10,000 mercenaries and 40,000 convicts, whom Prigozhin recruited from Russian prisons to swell his ranks.

Moscow confession

It took Moscow nearly a year to acknowledge Wagner’s participation in its aggression against Ukraine, something the Kremlin spokesman admitted earlier this year, Dmitry Peskov by calling their fighters “Champions”. And she still does not realize that she has released convicts to go to the front, although it became clear after one of them was decorated in December. Its members are fighting on some of the fiercest fronts, such as Bakhmut, where, according to the United States, Wagner lost. Thousands of men in recent months. But Washington has also acknowledged that they are more effective than the Russian military personnel, which have been plagued by logistical, readiness, coordination and morale problems since the start of the war.

Indeed, Kirby confirmed that US intelligence had detected friction between Wagner and the Russian military. “Wagner became a power center rivaling the Russian army and other Russian ministries”; He said . He also defended the Ministry of Defense’s “suspicions” of recruiting convicts.

This friction was noted in Prigozhin’s criticism of Russian military leaders and his complaints that Wagner fighters should be given better military equipment and greater autonomy to carry out their operations in Ukraine. Prigozhin accused the Russian army of not keeping enough supplies due to “internal bureaucracy and corruption”.

In addition to the sanctions imposed on Wagner, the United States has also released images obtained through its intelligence that show arms shipments from North Korea to Russia by rail, something it already denounced last month. Washington said the trains were carrying artillery for Wagner to use.

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