The United States will introduce additional sanctions against Russia’s private military company (PMC) Wagner Group next week, designating it as an international criminal organization, Reuters reported on Jan. 20, citing a senior White House official.
According to the White House, U.S. Treasury Department will declare Wagner a major “transnational criminal organization,” freezing any of its assets in the United States and prohibit U.S. citizens from providing any funds, goods, or services to the mercenaries.
White House National Security spokesman John Kirby later confirmed this information to CNN.
“In coordination with this designation, we will also impose additional sanctions next week against Wagner and its support network across multiple continents,” said Kirby.
“These actions recognize the transcontinental threat that Wagner poses, including through its ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter that Wagner should be recognized as a terrorist organization for the atrocities it committed in Ukraine and several African countries.
On Dec. 23, Kirby stated that the owner of Wagner, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, spends more than $100 million a month to fund the PMC’s operation in Ukraine.
According to U.S. estimates, 50,000 mercenary fighters are deployed in Ukraine, 40,000 of whom are convicts, recruited from Russian prison colonies.