European Council says eight individuals and seven entities have been subjected to asset freezes and travel bans.

A mural depicting Wagner private military group is seen on a wall in Belgrade, Serbia on January 18, 2023.
A mural depicting Wagner private military group is seen on a wall in Belgrade, Serbia on January 18, 2023. (Reuters)

The EU has announced additional sanctions against individuals from Russia's Wagner paramilitary group for "human rights abuses" in three African countries.

Eight individuals and seven entities tied to the group were added to the bloc's sanctions list for asset freezes and travel bans in the Central African Republic, Mali and Sudan, according to a statement from the European Council.

Wagner's security arm, which remains an issue of great concern in West Africa, was already sanctioned by the bloc in 2021.

The latest measures are "in view of the international dimension and gravity of the group's activities, as well as its destabilising impact on the countries where it is active," it said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Wagner's activities are a threat to people in countries where it operates and the EU.

"They endanger international peace and security as they do not operate within any legal framework. The EU is determined to continue taking tangible action against breaches to international law," he said.

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Targeting high-profile Wagner members

Those sanctioned came under the EU's Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime for activities in the Central African Republic and Sudan while one person came under the EU sanctions regime specifically applied to Mali.

Subjected to the EU sanctions in Mali is the head of Wagner's forces in the country, where the EU said Wagner's fighters "have been involved in acts of violence and multiple human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings."

Others sanctioned in the Central African Republic are high-profile Wagner members, including the security advisor to President Faustin Archange Touadera and the spokesperson of the group in the country.

Also hit were gold and diamond companies linked to Wagner in the Central African Republic and in Sudan in "view of their role in illegally trading gold and diamonds looted by force from local traders."

Meanwhile in Ukraine, sanctions targeted two commanders of Wagner Group forces actively involved in the capture of the town of Soledar in January.

The measures also bar "EU citizens and companies from making funds available to all those on the latest list."

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Source: AA