The European Council decided on Thursday to add Russian paramilitary group Wagner and a news agency run by its financier, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to the EU sanctions list for their support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and, in particular, the attacks on the Ukrainian towns of Soledar and Bakhmut.
This decision aims to complete the 'Wagner package' adopted on 25 February against a number of individuals and entities for the group’s destabilising activities around the world, particularly in Africa.
The sanctions also target RIA FAN, a news agency that belongs to the Patriot media group, whose board is headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin. RIA FAN is involved in pro-government propaganda and disinformation about the war, the Europeans point out.
The listed individuals and entities are subject to an asset freeze, and cannot be financed from the EU.
Personally targeted for several months by European sanctions, Yevgeny Prigozhin had last week deemed the punitive measures “reasonable.”
After doing the Kremlin’s dirty work in the shadows for a long time, he has gained significant weight in Russia’s strategy in Ukraine – with his private army at the frontline – to the point of stoking tensions with the military hierarchy.
EU sanctions targeting activities that threaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence cover a total of 1,473 individuals and 207 entities.