The US Treasury said that the Russian private military group, Wagner, is providing the Rapid Support Forces with surface-to-air missiles to confront the Sudanese army.
In a statement, the ministry indicated that the Wagner Group had interfered in and destabilized African countries, committed widespread violations, and seized natural resources, believing that this would lead to more chaos in the region.
It also confirmed that it had imposed sanctions on the leader of the Wagner Group in Mali, Ivan Alexandrovich Maslov, whom it accused of arranging meetings between the group’s founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and government officials from several African countries.
The statement added that the Wagner Group may be working through Mali and other countries to hide its efforts to obtain military equipment such as mines, drones, radars and anti-artillery systems, for use in Ukraine.
Washington has repeatedly warned of what it says are destabilizing activities of Wagner, and has tightened sanctions on the private military group in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine last year.
At the beginning of the week, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller warned that Wagner was seeking to transfer military equipment through Mali, but Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied these accusations, describing them as a “trick”.
It is noteworthy that Western countries have been expressing their concerns about Wagner’s activities in Mali since late 2021, but Mali – which witnessed a military coup in 2021 – and Russia confirm that the Russian forces in this African country are not mercenaries, but rather to train local forces to use equipment. Purchased from Moscow.