STATEMENT BY SECRETARY ANTONY J. BLINKEN
January 26, 2023
The United States is sanctioning individuals and entities linked to Russia’s para-military Wagner Group and its head, Yevgeniy Prigozhin – including its key infrastructure and associated front companies, its battlefield operations in Ukraine, producers of Russia’s weapons, and those administering Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine. This action supports our goal to degrade Moscow’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine, to promote accountability for those responsible for Russia’s war of aggression and associated abuses, and to place further pressure on Russia’s defense sector.
In November 2022, the Department of State designated the Wagner Group pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian economy. It was previously designated by OFAC in June 2017 under E.O. 13660 for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating the Wagner Group as a significant transnational criminal organization pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, as amended by E.O. 13863. The Wagner Group’s pattern of serious criminal behavior includes violent harassment of journalists, aid workers, and members of minority groups and harassment, obstruction, and intimidation of UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as rape and killings in Mali.
Concurrently, OFAC is designating Wagner pursuant to E.O. 13667 for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, the targeting of women, children, or any civilians through the commission of acts of violence, or abduction, forced displacement, or attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge, or through conduct that would constitute a serious abuse or violation of human rights or a violation of international humanitarian law in relation to CAR.
Further, the Department of State is designating today five entities and one individual linked to the Wagner Group and Prigozhin. These designations target a range of Wagner’s key infrastructure – including an aviation firm used by Wagner, a Wagner propaganda organization, and Wagner front companies. OFAC is also designating persons and entities based in CAR, the People’s Republic of China, Luxembourg, and the United Arab Emirates that are connected to Wagner’s operations around the world.
The Department is also designating under E.O. 14024 three individuals for their roles as heads of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service, which has been reported to facilitate the recruitment of Russian prisoners into the Wagner Group. The Department is also designating a Deputy Prime Minister who also serves as the Minister of Industry and Trade and the Chairman of the Election Commission of the Rostov Region.
The Department is further designating under E.O. 14024 one individual and four entities associated with Russian Oligarch Vladimir Potanin, who was sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 14024 in December 2022. Similarly, the Department is designating Sergei Adonev, a financier of Russian President Putin, alongside several associated entities and individuals. The Department is also identifying two yachts and one aircraft associated with Adonev as blocked property.
Additionally, the Department is designating under E.O. 14024 Aktsionernoye Obshchestvo Dalnevostochnyy TsentrSudostroyeniya i Sudoremonta (AO DTSSS) alongside eight subsidiaries. AO DTSSS and its subsidiaries are known for building and servicing Russia’s military, including its Pacific Fleet.
Finally, the Department is announcing steps to impose visa restrictions on 531 members of the Russian military for actions that threaten or violate the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of Ukraine pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
These actions also advance President Biden’s plan to promote accountability for conflict-related sexual violence, which calls for federal agencies to leverage existing sanctions authorities to pursue its perpetrators.
The United States is steadfast in our resolve against Russia’s aggression and other destabilizing behavior worldwide. Today’s designations will further impede the Kremlin’s ability to arm its war-machine that is engaged in a war of aggression against Ukraine, and which has caused unconscionable death and destruction.