On Thursday, January 26th, 2023, the United States Treasury Department labeled the Wagner Group as a transnational criminal organization of great significance. Wagner Group is a private mercenary organization from Russia that has been involved heavily in the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has led to the imposition of several sanctions on the transnational networks supporting it.
According to Antony Blinken, the U.S. State Secretary, the United States Department of State announced sanctions intended to target various Wagner’s key assets. They include an aviation firm that Wagner uses, a propaganda organization, and front companies.
In a press conference, he said that while Russia has been struggling on the battlefield, Vladimir Putin has decided to rely on the Wagner Group to proceed with the conflict. He also added that the Wagner Group has destabilized and meddled with African nations, abusing human rights and forcefully obtaining natural resources from their citizens.
The White House previewed the measures aimed at the Wagner Group last week, in addition to which the two institutions also announced more sanctions against companies and individuals tied to the Russian war. These sanctions make the latest of the punitive measures the U.S.A. has taken against Russia and all its proxies. This happens as this war by Putin is approaching its second year, showing no signs of slowing down.
In a statement, Blinken said that the measures support the U.S.’s intention to reduce Moscow’s capacity to fight Ukraine, enhance accountability for the persons responsible for Russia’s conflict, and place additional pressure on its defense sector.
The U.S. Treasury Department also issued sanctions against companies and individuals with ties to the defense industrial complex of Moscow, in addition to allies of Putin, their family members, and two individuals involved with attempts by the Russians to occupy parts of Ukraine.