The White House announced on Friday the the US Treasury Department will list Russia’s Wagner Group as a “transnational criminal organization,” including adding new sanctions next week targeting the paramilitary organization and its international support network.
“These actions recognize the transcontinental threat that Wagner poses, including through its ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said to reporters on Friday.
Concurrent to the announcement, the US government released declassified photos of Russia using railcars to transport infantry rockets and missiles from North Korea thought to be for use by the Wagner Group in Ukraine, CNN reported.
Kirby said that similar shipments from North Korea to Russia are likely to continue, along with drones and other equipment coming from Iran.
“The arms transfers from [North Korea] are in direct violation of United Nations Security Council resolution,” Kirby said.
He aded that the US has provided the evidence of shipments to the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee.
There are approximately 50,000 Wagner Group mercenaries fighting in Ukraine, including 40,000 Russian convicts sent to fight on the battlefield.
“Wagner is becoming a rival power center to the Russian military and other Russian ministries,” Kirby said, noting that intelligence estimates suggest that the Russian Defense Ministry is worried about Wagner’s use of convicts from Russian prisons.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)