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The European Council sanctioned an additional 11 individuals and 7 entities linked to Russia's Wagner mercenary group on Feb. 25.
The Wagner Group is currently involved in Russia's offensive operations in the east of Ukraine, fighting alongside the Russian regular army.
The European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement that Wagner is a threat to "international peace and security as they do not operate within any legal framework. The EU is determined to continue taking tangible action against breaches to international law."
Eight of the individuals and the seven entities were listed under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime for human rights abuses in the Central African Republic and Sudan. One individual was listed under the Mali sanctions regime for "threatening the peace, security, or stability of Mali" and two others for "undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine."
According to the press release, the two Wagner-linked individuals sanctioned for their actions in Ukraine were involved in the capture of Soledar, Donetsk Oblast, in January 2023.
As a result of the sanctions, all 11 individuals are banned from entering or traveling through the EU. Furthermore, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from doing business with them.
The U.S. has previously accused Russian mercenaries of exploiting natural resources in the Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, and elsewhere to fund its military aggression against Ukraine.
On Feb. 21, the Financial Times reported that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner Group, earned $250 million in assets over the past four years from oil, gas, diamond, and gold mining in countries such as Sudan and Syria.
Prigozhin and his closest family members have already been put under financial sanctions by a number of countries, including the U.S. and Ukraine in 2022 and the U.K. in 2020.