The Russian mercenary group Wagner was classified by the US as a “transnational criminal organization”. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby made the announcement Friday. The measure allows the US and other countries to curb the international trade of the mercenary group and its global network of supporters. Concrete sanctions will be imposed by the US government next week, Kirby said.
Kirby has not yet provided details on the sanctions. Wagner is a criminal organization responsible for atrocities and human rights violations in Ukraine and around the world, he said. There is a growing rivalry between the Wagner group and the Russian military and other Russian ministries. “We see increasing tensions between Wagner and the Russian Defense Ministry.”
Weapons received from North Korea
North Korea has also supplied weapons to Wagner in recent weeks, Kirby said. On November 18, a train left Russia for North Korea, loaded by North Korea to return to Russia the next day. There’s footage for that. It is believed that further arms shipments will come from North Korea.
The Wagner Group is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. About 50,000 soldiers are currently fighting in the ranks of the private army in Ukraine, Kirby said. Among them are 10,000 mercenaries and 40,000 prisoners.
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