EU foreign ministers agreed Monday (15 November) to draw up more sanctions on shadowy Russian mercenary group Wagner over its involvement in a string of hotspots, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.
The private military outfit, which Western capitals see as closely linked to the Kremlin, has been tied to conflicts in Ukraine, Africa and the Middle East.
“There is consensus to move forward in order to take restrictive measures against this group,” Josep Borrell said after a meeting in Brussels.
He said the sanction proposals will now be drafted by European Union experts and discussed further when foreign ministers meet again in December.
EU member France has been spearheading the moves to target Wagner.
Paris fiercely opposes a reported deal between the group and Mali’s military junta to send 1,000 contractors to the jihadist-hit country.
Already last year, the EU blacklisted Wagner’s alleged financier Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, over the group’s involvement in Libya.
The Kremlin denies it has ties to the mercenary firm.
In addition to targeting Wagner, France also pushed EU counterparts to move forward on sanctioning Mali’s military leadership in the wake of their coup.
Borrell said foreign ministers agreed to set up a legal framework that would allow Brussels to target those blocking a transition back to civilian rule.
The move comes after West African regional group ECOWAS this month slapped individual members of the military junta ruling Mali since the August 2020 seizure of power.