Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 25 May 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
U.S. Sanctions Wagner Chief In Mali
The U.S. has made efforts to curb what it says are Wagner’s destabilizing activities. Washington accused the Russian private army of trying to obscure its efforts to acquire military equipment for use in Ukraine.
The U.S. Department of State said the Russian mercenary group Wagner is trying to obscure its efforts to buy military equipment from foreign nations for use in Ukraine. Wagner is seeking to transit the foreign equipment to Russia via Mali. The United States does not yet have information on where Wagner has made an effort to purchase foreign military equipment. The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement it imposed sanctions on Ivan Maslov, Wagner’s chief in Mali. Washington has ramped up sanctions against the private army and its activities in Sudan. Most recently in Sudan, the Wagner Group has been supplying Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces with surface-to-air missiles to fight against Sudan’s army, contributing to a prolonged armed conflict between the group and the country’s army loyal to its chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Al-Burhan has one clear advantage in the air as the Sudanese air force is loyal to the junta chief. Consequently, the Sudanese army is carrying out air strikes to hit forces loyal to RSF chief Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The Russian mercenary group Wagner has been supplying Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF), via Libya, with missiles to aid their fight against the country’s regular army. Russia initially backed the Sudanese military junta but is now teaming up with Dagalo. The reason might be his involvement in gold smuggling outside Sudan, in cahoots with Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin. A Russian scheme with the Sudanese military allowed Moscow to plunder billions of dollars in gold. Although Dagalo hugely benefitted from Sudan’s gold exports, the country saw constant losses. A likely reason behind Sudan’s civil war might have been a Russian fear to see al-Burhan put an end to the Russian gold smuggling. According to some, the U.S. might have offered a better deal to the Sudanese junta chief provided that the leader ordered Russia out of the country and thus get rid of RSF leader Gen. Dagalo, his arch enemy.
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