EU sanctions Russia's Wagner group for activities in Ukraine

AFP , Thursday 13 Apr 2023

The European Union on Thursday added Russia's Wagner mercenary group to its sanctions list for "actively participating in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine".

Yevgeny Prigozhin
File Photo: Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group military company, arrives to pay the last respects to slain Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, during a funeral ceremony at the Troyekurovskoye cemetery in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, April 8, 2023. AP


Wagner, which is leading Russian battles to try to capture the Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Soledar, had already been placed in February on another EU sanctions list for violating human rights and "destabilizing" countries in Africa.

The European Council, representing the 27 EU member states, said the new sanctions listing "completes" the previous one.

Wagner, it said, was added anew to the list "for actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine".

That Wagner is twice-listed "underscores the international dimension and gravity of the group's activities, as well as its destabilizing impact on the countries where it is active," the council said in a statement.

The council also added to its sanctions list RIA FAN, a Russian media outlet that is part of the Patriot Media Group, whose board of trustees is led by Yevgeny Prigozhin -- the chief of Wagner.

A Russian NGO and a Wagner deserter have alleged that Wagner fighters were responsible for a purported beheading of a Ukrainian prisoner of war, an apparent video of which has drawn condemnation from Ukraine and UN officials.

Prigozhin denied the allegations on Thursday. Russia said it has opened a probe into the footage.

Individuals and entities on the European Union's sanctions list are subject to a freeze of assets in the EU, a travel ban, and a prohibition on any EU person or firm making funds available to them.

The EU has adopted 10 successive sanctions packages against Russia in the past year over its invasion of Ukraine.

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