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U.S. Slaps Sanctions On Wagner-Linked Gold Miners

The United States has imposed sanctions on four companies linked to the Russian private mercenary group Wagner and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, that it said are active in illicit gold mining and trade.The companies are tied to illicit gold dealings that fund the Wagner group to sustain and expand its armed forces, including in Ukraine and Africa, the Treasury Department said in a news release on June 27. In addition to the four companies, one individual identified as a Russian executive in the Wagner group was designated for sanctions. Two of the companies designated are mining firms in the Central African Republic (CAR). The other two firms -- one in the United Arab Emirates and the other in Russia -- are identified as wholesale firms.

“The Wagner Group exploits insecurity around the world, committing atrocities and criminal acts that threaten the safety, good governance, prosperity, and human rights of nations, as well as exploiting their natural resources,” the department said.Brian Nelson, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the United States will continue to target the Wagner group’s revenue streams “to degrade its expansion and violence in Africa, Ukraine, and anywhere else.”The entities designated for sanctions are Diamville SAU and Midas Ressources SARLU, two mining firms based in the CAR, Limited Liability Company DM based in Russia, and Dubai-based Industrial Resources General Trading.The individual targeted is Andrei Ivanov, who Treasury said worked with officials of the government of Mali on weapons deals, mining projects, and other Wagner group activities in Mali.

Catrina Doxsee, associate director and associate fellow with the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, said the crisis in Russia is over for now, but the fight to control the Wagner group has only just begun.

This is "creating an opening for the United States and its allies to dislodge Russian influence in places such as Africa," Doxsee said on Twitter.

The United States has issued sanctions against Prigozhin, who led a brief revolt over the weekend against the Kremlin, and the Wagner group multiple times.The sanctions announced on June 27 are not directly related to the uprising, which ended when Prigozhin ordered his forces to stop their march to Moscow.

By RFE/RL

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