The United States Treasury has sanctioned the head of the Wagner private military group in Mali, Ivan Maslov, as part of its pushback on Wagner expansionism in Africa supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to a press release published Thursday.
The Treasury also confirmed the findings of a CNN investigation into Wagner’s support for the Sudan paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in the current war devastating the country.
“The Wagner Group may be attempting to obscure its efforts to acquire military equipment for use in Ukraine, including by working through Mali and other countries where it has a foothold. The United States opposes efforts by any country to assist Russia through the Wagner Group,” the release said.
A US official, citing US intelligence, told CNN earlier this month that the Biden administration had been informed that Wagner had been trying to ship equipment for use in Ukraine through Mali and falsifying paperwork for the transactions.
The official said at the time that there were no signs yet that Wagner had successfully procured the equipment, but the group had continued working to procure mines, drones, radar and counter-battery systems from contacts in Mali for use in Ukraine.
Maslov is a senior Wagner Group security official who was tasked by Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitriy Valeryevich Utkin to lead the Wagner Group’s mercenary units in Mali, according to the Treasury press release.
Both Prigozhin and Utkin have been sanctioned by the US, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada.
The press release added that Wagner has meddled in and destabilized countries in Africa, committed widespread human rights abuses and appropriated natural resources.