The United States has classified Russian paramilitary group Wagner as an international criminal organization, the White House said on Friday, condemning its activities in Ukraine.
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“Wagner is a criminal organization that commits enormous atrocities and human rights abuses,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters, noting that the mercenary group has about “50,000” people stationed in Ukraine, mostly in Russia convicted prisoners.
“We continue to understand that the Wagner Group currently has about 50,000 personnel based in Ukraine, including 10,000 mercenaries and 40,000 prisoners,” so this raises the Russian Defense Ministry’s “concerns” about its “recruitment methods,” he said .
The official said Washington will take further action against the Wagner group after the group was classified as a criminal organization on Friday.
He also shared satellite images showing Russian trains heading to North Korea to deliver equipment for the Wagner group.
The paramilitary group is led by Yevgeny Prigoyine and is very active in the bitter struggle to capture Bakhmout in eastern Ukraine.