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EU sanctions Russian mercenaries

European Union foreign ministers imposed new sanctions on the Russian military company Wagner Group, as well as eight associated individuals and three entities, on 13 December for their activities in Ukraine, Syria, and several African countries.

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign and security policy chief, told reporters after the meeting in Brussels that the Wagner Group's activities “reflect Russia's hybrid warfare, [are] a threat, and create instability in a number of countries around the world” such as Syria, Ukraine's Donbas region, the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan, and Mozambique.

In a press statement released after the meeting, the EU Council noted that the Wagner Group recruits, trains, and sends private military operatives “to conflict zones around the world to fuel violence, loot natural resources, and intimidate civilians in violation of international law”.

It said the eight listed individuals are responsible for serious human rights abuses that include “torture and extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions and killings” as well as the spread of “malign influence” elsewhere, including in the Sahel region. “For these reasons the group constitutes a threat for the people in the countries where they are present, the wider region, and for the European Union.”

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