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US Designates Mercenary Group Wagner as An ‘International Criminal Organisation’

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On Friday (January 19), The United States administration set the Russian mercenary group Wagner as an international criminal organization, with White House national security spokesperson John Kirby stating that the group is executing widespread atrocities and human rights misuses. Kirby said that Wagner has about 50,000 fighters in Ukraine, and 80 percent are drawn from dungeons. Wagner “is a criminal organisation that is committing widespread atrocities and human rights abuses. We will work relentlessly to identify, disrupt, expose and target those who are assisting (it),” Kirby said, according to a statement by news agency AFP early Saturday (January 21). 

Showing photographs of North Korea giving arms to Wagner for its processes in Ukraine, Kirby said the mercenary group had evolved into a rival to the formal Russian army. The photographs from November 18-19 last year showed Russian rail cars joining North Korea, picking up a load of infantry rockets and missiles, and producing to Russia. Kirby said, adding the US presented its intelligence on Wagner’s purchase to the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) unit on North Korea sanctions. 

He also said that arms transfers from North Korea directly violate United Nations Security Council resolutions.  The White House national security spokesperson also pointed out that Wagner is evolving into a rival power center to the Russian military and other Russian ministries. 

“Prigozhin is trying to advance his own interest in Ukraine and Wagner is making military decisions based largely on what they will generate for Prigozhin, in terms of positive publicity,” Kirby further said on Friday.

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