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The U.S. State Department is reportedly planning to delay new sanctions against the Wagner Group's activities in Africa, the Wall Street Journal said on June 24.
According to an unnamed official who spoke with the WSJ, the State Department had previously intended to announce new sanctions against the mercenary group for its gold mining activities in Africa.
The Wagner Group purportedly has a number of troops stationed in various African countries, including the Central African Republic, where it has shored up mining operations in recent years. Profits from mineral extractions in Africa are likely used to fund illicit Russian state-sponsored activity and to provide resources for Russia's war on Ukraine, U.S. officials have said in the past.
"Washington does not want to appear to be taking sides," an individual familiar with the plans told the WSJ.
On June 23, Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin launched a rebellion after alleging that a missile strike on his mercenary forces in Ukraine caused substantial casualties. The rebellion was short-lived, however, and appeared to be over by the evening of June 24, when Prigozhin announced that his forces would be withdrawing and returning to their military camps.