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UK sanctions Wagner leaders for violence across African states

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 20, 2023 4:58 PM 3 min read
A Russian flag with the emblem of Russia on hang on the monument of the Russian instructors in Bangui, on March 22, 2023 during a march in support of Russia and China's presence in the Central African Republic. (Photo by BARBARA DEBOUT/AFP via Getty Images)
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The U.K. government announced on July 20 a new wave of sanctions against 13 individuals and businesses connected to the Wagner Group's activities in Mali, Central African Republic (CAR), and Sudan.

One of the persons the U.K. has targeted is Ivan Maslov, head of the Wagner Group in Mali, for his role in the massacre of more than 500 people in Moura in March 2022.

The US government sanctioned Maslov in May 2023, followed by sanctioning four companies linked to the group in June.

"Wherever Wagner operates, it has a catastrophic effect on communities, worsens existing conflicts and damages the reputations of countries that host them," said Andrew Mitchell, U.K. Minister of State for Development and Africa.

The U.K. also announced sanctions against two Wagner leaders who operate in Central African Republic, Vitalii Perfilev and Konstantin Pikalov, for deliberately targeting civilians. The U.K. believes that Pikalov is a close advisor of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner.  

Prigozhin and several key commanders had already been sanctioned by the U.K. for their participation in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia after Wagner revolt: Will Putin stay afloat or face more turmoil?
The rebellion organized by Russia’s Wagner mercenary group in June is seen by many analysts as a sign of weakness and fragility of Vladimir Putin’s regime. First, several thousand armed mercenaries managed to march for hundreds of kilometers from Rostov to the vicinity of Moscow, and no one

"These measures will limit their financial freedom by preventing U.K. citizens, companies and banks from dealing with them, alongside freezing any assets held in the UK and travel bans," declared the report.

The U.K. intelligence reported on July 16 that the group's ambition to maintain an extensive presence in African countries has been accepted by Moscow.

On June 27, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions against four companies and one Wagner-affiliated individual who have engaged in illicit gold mining and trading in Africa. These activities provide funding for the mercenary company.

The sanctioned list included Midas, a Central African Republic (CAR)-based mining company, Diamville, a gold and diamond purchasing company in CAR, Industrial Resources, a Dubai-based industrial goods distributor, and OOO DM, a Russian firm that also took part in the gold trading scheme.

The move followed an earlier wave of sanctions in January 2023, when the U.S. Treasury Department designated the group as a “significant transnational criminal organization” and targeted its support network worldwide.

Wagner, Belarusian military hold joint training near Polish border
The Belarusian military and the contractors of the Wagner Group will hold joint training near the city of Brest, close to the Polish border, the Belarusian Defense Ministry informed on July 20.
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