The Wagner paramilitary group recruits mercenaries to support Putin’s troops in his war in Ukraine (REUTERS / Igor Russak)
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on a Chinese company for allegedly providing satellite images in Ukraine to help the Russian paramilitary group Wagner.
The Treasury Department and the State Department announced a series of actions following a move by the White House last week to formally designate the Wagner group a “transnational criminal organization.”
The new sanctions “will further hamper the Kremlin’s ability to arm its war machine that is engaged in a war of aggression against Ukraine and has caused disproportionate death and destruction,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that “as sanctions and export controls on Russia by our international coalition continue to take their toll, the Kremlin desperately seeks weapons and support – including through the brutal Group Wagner – to continue his unjust war against the Ukraine.”
“Today’s expanded sanctions on Wagner, as well as new sanctions on his associates and other companies that enable the Russian military complex, will further impede Putin’s ability to arm and equip his war machine,” it added.
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State (REUTERS/Leah Millis)
Among the targeted firms is Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co., a Chinese company that the Treasury Department says provided satellite imagery over Ukraine to the Wagner group.
“These images were collected to enable Wagner’s combat operations in Ukraine,” said a statement from the Treasury Department, which also announced sanctions on a subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based Chinese company.
The Chinese regime is officially an ally of Russia, but the United States has announced what it sees as lukewarm support from Beijing for the war in Ukraine, including a refusal to supply Moscow with weapons.
The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on a United Arab Emirates-based aviation company, Kratol, which said it had provided planes for the Wagner group to fly personnel and equipment between the Central African Republic, Libya and Mali.
Headed by Yevgeny Prigojine, a businessman close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, this paramilitary organization has assumed an increasingly prominent role in Ukraine, sending Russian prisoners to battlefields who are promised clemency.
The Chinese regime is an ally of Russia (Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS)
The White House said Friday that Wagner has about 50,000 fighters in Ukraine, 80% of them from prisons.
The United States also announced sanctions against Russian government officials such as Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov.
Among the sanctioned charges are Manturov, who controls the defense industry and the production of war material for Russia’s use in Ukraine, as well as the chairman of the Rostov Region Election Commission, Andrey Burov, responsible for facilitating referendums. illegitimate in the occupied regions of Ukraine, according to Washington.
Likewise, three officials of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service -Dmitry Bezrukikh, Arkadiy Gostev and Ivan Prokopenko- were also designated for allegedly having facilitated the recruitment of Russian prisoners to the Wagner group.
(With information from AFP and AP)
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