White House writes to Wagner chief over the new sanctions

The Russian head of the private military contractor Wagner wrote a brief letter Saturday asking the White House what crime his company is accused of after Washington announced additional sanctions against the group.

John Kirby, White House spokesperson for national security, stated that Wagner had been helping Russian forces invade Ukraine, claiming credit in battle advances. He would now be classified as a Transnational Criminal Organization.

Kirby received a letter in English, addressed to Kirby, and published on Yevgeny Privgozhin’s Telegram channel. It read: “Dear Kirby. Could you please clarify the crime committed by PMC Wagner?”

Kirby described Wagner as “a criminal organization that commits widespread atrocities, and human rights violations”.

The White House announced last month that Wagner received an arms shipment from North Korea in order to support Russian forces in Ukraine.

The report was rejected by the North Korean Foreign Ministry. Prigozhin denied receiving such a delivery at that time, calling it “gossip” and speculation.

Washington already had imposed trade restrictions with Wagner in 2017, and again in December to limit its access to weapons.

In December 2021, Wagner was subject to sanctions by the European Union. Wagner has also been involved in Libya, Syria, Sudan, Mozambique, Mali, and Central African Republic.

Wagner was described by Prigozhin as a completely independent force that has its own planes, tanks, rockets, artillery, and aircraft.

In the United States, he is being sought for interfering in U.S. election elections. He stated in November that he did it and will continue to do so.



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