Ukraine, White House: “Wagner criminal organization”

US: “Russian mercenaries have received weapons from North Korea”

The United States has designated the Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group as a “transnational criminal organization”. This was announced today by the spokesman of the National Security Council of the White House, John Kirby, specifying that this will allow the Treasury department to impose new sanctions on the group and its global allies.

“It is a criminal organization that has committed many serious crimes,” Kirby said, recalling that Vladimir Putin relies increasingly on this army of mercenaries – about 50,000 in Ukraine, 10,000 contractors and 40,000 recruited in prisons – which is competition to the Russian regular army.

The White House’s decision came after the explicit request of the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba. “Russian private military company ‘Wagner’ must be classified as a terrorist organization. For all its atrocities in Ukraine, but also for numerous crimes in Africa. We support African nations who see ‘Wagner’ as a source of threat. Together we will stop Russian terrorism,” he wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the United States has handed over to the Security Council commission, which supervises sanctions on North Korea, evidence that Pyongyang has delivered missiles and shells used by the Wagner group to Ukraine. Kirby held up photos showing a Russian train that arrived in North Korea in November, then departed with a load of weapons. “The transfer of arms from North Korea is a direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Kirby added.