Published on : 02/26/2023 – 11:59
The European Union announced on Saturday new sanctions against the Russian paramilitary group Wagner for its “human rights violations” in Africa, targeting in particular its leader in Mali and several of its senior officials in the Central African Republic.
The Russian paramilitary group is pinned down again. The European Union announced on Saturday, February 25, new sanctions against Wagner for his “human rights violations” in Africa, targeting in particular his leader in Mali and several of his senior officials in the Central African Republic.
Eleven people – nine in Africa and two in Ukraine – and seven entities linked to the group have been added to the list of the European bloc imposing asset freezes and travel bans.
The Wagner Group itself – which actively fights with the Russian army in Ukraine – had already been sanctioned in 2021 by the EU.
>> To read also: “From death squads” to “cannon fodder”, the bloody year of the mercenaries of the Wagner group
These new sanctions were decided “in view of the international dimension and the seriousness of the group’s activities, as well as its destabilizing impact on the countries where it is active”, wrote the European Council in a press release.
Wagner Group: @EUCouncil sanctions 11 people + 7 entities involved in serious #humanrights abuses, threatening the security and stability of Mali ??, the Central African Republic ?? and Sudan ?? & undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine ??.
— EU Council Press (@EUCouncilPress) February 25, 2023
“The activities of the Wagner group are a threat to the populations of the countries where they operate and to the European Union”, declared the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell.
The European Council clarified that eight members of Wagner and the seven entities targeted by these new sanctions fall under the EU’s global human rights sanctions regime for the group’s activities in the Central African Republic and Sudan.
A ninth member of Wagner has meanwhile been hit by an EU sanctions regime that applies specifically to Mali. This is the leader of Wagner’s forces in this country where fighters from the group “have been implicated in acts of violence and multiple human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions”.
>> To see: “Russia on the offensive in Mali, the Central African Republic, Libya and Ukraine: Wagner Putin’s army?”
Ores and diamonds
Several people placed under EU sanctions in the Central African Republic are prominent members of Wagner, including President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s “security adviser” and the group’s spokesman in the country.
Wagner established himself in the Central African Republic at the invitation of the president to suppress a rebellion and his increasingly imposing presence prompted the departure of French soldiers from this country at the end of last year.
Gold and diamond companies linked to Wagner in the Central African Republic and Sudan are also targeted by European sanctions.
>> To see: “Central Africa: the Russian influence”
A Central African radio station, Lengo Sengo, is also under investigation “for engaging in online influence operations on behalf of Russia and the Wagner Group with the aim of manipulating public opinion “.
Wagner, a paramilitary group founded in 2014, is considered by the United States to be an international terrorist organization. The United States, which has been trying for several years to thwart Russian influence in Africa, accuses the Wagner group of “committing human rights violations and extorting natural resources in Africa”.
The group has established itself as a major player in the conflict in Ukraine and its mercenaries have also been seen in Syria or Libya.
In an update on Saturday, two new Wagner members were listed under the EU sanctions regime punishing Russia for its war in Ukraine. Both paramilitaries are Wagner commanders believed to be involved in the January Russian conquest of the Ukrainian town of Soledar.
Source: France 24