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US accuses Wagner Group of supplying missiles to Sudanese RSF | Military News

Washington has warned that Russian mercenaries are prolonging the conflict and causing “further chaos” in Sudan.

Washington DC – The United States has accused Russia’s Wagner Group of supplying surface-to-air missiles to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a party to the ongoing conflict in Sudan that has displaced nearly 1.3 million people.

The charges against the mercenary group Thursday came as the U.S. Treasury also imposed sanctions on Wagner’s leader in Mali, accusing him of trying to acquire weapons for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In a statement, the Treasury said Sudan’s surface-to-air missiles had fueled “a protracted armed conflict that will only lead to further chaos in the region”.

The RSF and the Sudanese army – led by two rival generals – have been fighting for control of the state and its resources since mid-April, a struggle that has left hundreds dead.

Meanwhile, Washington has helped broker several ceasefires since the violence erupted. The warring sides agreed to a week-long truce on Monday, but as with previous ceasefires, residents reported clashes continued.

The United States says its main goal in Sudan is to reduce violence before working to permanently end the fighting and return the country to civilian rule. Human rights groups have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if the conflict continues.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed concern about the prospect of Wagner’s involvement in Sudan, saying the group “will only bring more death and destruction.”

“It’s very important that we don’t see it getting further involved in Sudanese affairs. I know many countries are very concerned about that prospect,” he said.

U.S. scrutinizes Wagner’s activities in Mali

On Thursday, the Treasury Department also said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “relying on the Wagner Group to continue the war of his choice” in Ukraine, which has been under a full-scale invasion since February 2022.

As part of the announcement, the United States imposed sanctions on Ivan Alexandrovich Maslov, the head of the Mali Wagner company in the landlocked West African country.

“The Wagner Group may have attempted to conceal its efforts to purchase military equipment for Ukraine, including through Mali and other countries where it has a foothold,” the Treasury said. “The United States opposes efforts by any country to assist Russia through the Wagner Group.”

In early 2023, the United States will list Wagner as a “transnational criminal organization” and impose sanctions on its top leaders.

The State Department also accused Wagner earlier this week of attempting to use false documents to smuggle “materials intended to aid Russia in its war effort” through Mali through Ukraine.

“Indeed, there are indications that Wagner has been trying to purchase military systems from foreign suppliers and ship those weapons through Mali as a third party,” spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Monday.

“So far, we have not seen any indication that these acquisitions have been completed or executed, but we are monitoring the situation closely.”

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