US imposes sanctions on Malian officials in connected with Wagner Group

US imposes sanctions on Malian officials in connected with Wagner Group

US 'will continue to take action against those who facilitate the Wagner Group’s destabilizing activities,' says Secretary of State Blinken

By Firdevs Bulut Kartal

TORONTO (AA) - The US on Monday announced sanctions on three Malian officials who were alleged to be closely connected to the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday.

"Today, the United States is designating three Malian officials who have worked closely with the Wagner Group to facilitate and expand Wagner’s presence in Mali since December 2021," Blinken said in a statement.

According to the statement, civilian fatalities have surged by 278% since Wagner forces were deployed to Mali, many of which were the result of operations by Malian Armed Forces alongside members of the Wagner Group.

"The United States will continue to take action against those who facilitate the Wagner Group’s destabilizing activities, which pose threats to peace and security in Mali and the region," said Blinken.

On June 24, Wagner group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian Defense Ministry of attacking the group’s fighters, declared a “March of Justice” and set off toward Moscow.

The Russian Federal Security Service designated the group’s action “an armed rebellion” and opened a criminal case against Prigozhin, while Russian President Vladimir Putin called the private military company's uprising an act of “treason.”

On June 30, the US said it was concerned about the Wagner Group's destabilizing activities in Africa, followed by the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to conclude its operations in the country.

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