Who are the Leaders of the Russian Paramilitary Group Wagner in Africa Sanctioned by the European Union?

Eleven people – 9 in Africa and 2 in Ukraine – and seven entities linked to the group have been added to the list of the European bloc imposing asset freezes and travel bans.

The Wagner group itself – which actively fights with the Russian army in Ukraine – had already been sanctioned in 2021 by the EU. These new sanctions were decided “in view of the international dimension and the seriousness of the group’s activities, as well as its destabilizing impact on the countries where it is active”, wrote the European Council in a press release.

“The activities of the Wagner group are a threat to the populations of the countries where they operate and to the European Union” , declared the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrel.

The European Council clarified that eight members of Wagner and the seven entities targeted by these new sanctions fall under the EU’s global human rights sanctions regime for the group’s activities in the Central African Republic and Sudan.

A ninth member of Wagner has meanwhile been hit by an EU sanctions regime that applies specifically to Mali. This is the leader of Wagner’s forces in this country where fighters from the group “have been implicated in acts of violence and multiple human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions”.

 Yevgueni Prigojine, businessman, is the founder of the Russian paramilitary company.  He is here on July 4, 2017 alongside Vladimir Putin during a summit with China. 

Evgueni Prigojine, businessman, is the founder of the Russian paramilitary company. He is here on July 4, 2017 alongside Vladimir Putin during a summit with China.Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP

Several people placed under EU sanctions in the Central African Republic are leading members of Wagner. Vitalii Perfilev , 39, is President Faustin Archange Touadera’s “security adviser” . According to the European Union document he is described as “a key Wagner figure in the CAR”.

Alexander Uvanov, 62, is also targeted by European Union sanctions. He is in the EU document described as Wagner’s spokesperson on the spot. He would be at the head of an entity called the Union of International Security Officers. This would have sent Russian military instructors to the Central African Republic.

Two Wagner men in the CAR have been identified by Brussels and are targeted by EU sanctions. They are Aleksandr Malotetko , Wagner’s instructor in the Central African Republic and Konstantin Pikalov, 54, Wagner’s commander in Africa.

Dimitri Sytii, 33 , directs the local branch of the Russian House in Bangui, considered the propaganda arm of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Bangui in favor of Wagner. He is also affected by the sanctions.

Wagner established himself in the Central African Republic at the invitation of President Touadera to suppress a rebellion and his increasingly imposing presence prompted the departure of French soldiers from this country at the end of last year.

Gold and diamond companies linked to Wagner in the Central African Republic and Sudan are also targeted by European sanctions.

A Central African radio station, Lengo Sengo, is also under investigation “for engaging in online influence operations on behalf of Russia and the Wagner Group with the aim of manipulating public opinion “.

Wagner, a paramilitary group founded in 2014, is considered by the United States to be an international terrorist organization. The United States, which has been trying for several years to thwart Russian influence in Africa, accuses the Wagner group of “committing human rights violations and extorting natural resources in Africa”.

The group has established itself as a major player in the conflict in Ukraine and its mercenaries have also been seen in Syria or Libya.  

In an update Saturday, Feb. 25, two new Wagner members were listed under the EU sanctions regime punishing Russia for its war in Ukraine. Both paramilitaries are Wagner commanders believed to be involved in the January Russian conquest of the Ukrainian town of Soledar.

Source : Information tv5 monde

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