March 28, 2023

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New US Sanctions Against Russia Target Wagner Group and Russian Military-Industrial Complex | War Ukraine and Russia

The United States today announced new economic sanctions against Russia. This time they are targeting the Wagner group, the infamous Russian mercenary force, and the Russian “military-industrial complex.”

Last week, it was announced that the United States would classify Wagner’s Russian private army as a criminal organization, which would help other countries control the mercenary group’s international operations and its global network of supporters.

It has now happened: the US government has formally listed Wagner as a transnational criminal organization. The US justifies the decision by pointing not only to the bloody war in eastern Ukraine, but also to Wagner’s crimes in Africa. Mercenaries are said to be responsible for mass executions and rapes in Mali and the Central African Republic.


The U.S. imposes sanctions on the mercenary group and its affiliates, as well as individuals and entities associated with Wagner. Sanctions also apply to a Russian technology company and a Chinese satellite company helping Wagner with images of the battle for the Ukrainian city of Baghmut. Sanctions prevent US companies from doing business with those companies. Persons associated with Wagner or founder Yevgeny Prigogine are also admitted.

The paramilitary Wagner group is led by Putin’s confidante Prigozhin, and is currently very active in the fierce battle for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Militants now have about 50,000 fighters recruited to fight in Ukraine, according to the latest figures from the White House’s National Security Council. Most of them were convicts from Russia. The group is known for its brutality.

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Additionally, the US is focusing on the Russian ‘military-industrial complex’. It’s a term that dates back to the beginning of the Cold War and was popularized by President Dwight Eisenhower. In his farewell message, he pointed to the intertwining of the arms industry, the military and American leaders. Eisenhower warned against the influence of different groups interested in war as much as possible.

Focusing on the ‘military-industrial complex’, the Americans want to target with their sanctions anyone interested in the war in Ukraine and the big industry behind it. They don’t go deep into it. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the sanctions were meant to “cripple” Russia’s war machine and reduce Moscow’s arming of its troops.

Other new US State Department sanctions target Russian companies and supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

See more. All about the war between Russia and Ukraine in pictures