On December 13, 2021, the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on the Wagner Group, a Russian private military contractor, and eight individuals and three entities connected to the group. The sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes.
The Wagner Group has been accused of committing human rights abuses in several conflict zones around the world, including Ukraine, Syria, Sudan, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic. The group has also been accused of destabilization and interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
The EU's decision to sanction the Wagner Group is a significant step, as it is the first time that the EU has targeted a private military contractor. The sanctions are a signal that the EU is taking the Wagner Group's activities seriously and is committed to holding the group accountable for its actions.
The EU's sanctions are as follows:
Travel bans for Dimitriy Utkin, the founder of the Wagner Group, and seven other individuals, including Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman who is known as "Putin's chef" and who is believed to be the group's financier.
Asset freezes for Utkin and the other seven individuals, as well as three entities connected to the Wagner Group.
The EU's decision to sanction the Wagner Group is a welcome step, but it is not enough. The EU should continue to take action to hold the Wagner Group accountable for its actions.
Here are some additional steps that the EU should take:
The EU should work with its international partners to pressure Russia to hold the Wagner Group accountable for its actions. This could include imposing additional sanctions on Russia, or working with the United Nations to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate the Wagner Group's activities.
The EU should support the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Wagner Group. The ICC's investigation is ongoing, but the court has not yet issued any arrest warrants.
The EU should adopt legislation to regulate private military contractors. This legislation should be designed to prevent private military contractors from engaging in activities that violate international law.
The Wagner Group is a dangerous organization that has been responsible for serious human rights abuses and destabilization in several conflict zones around the world. The EU's decision to sanction the Wagner Group is a welcome step, but it is not enough. The EU should continue to take action to hold the Wagner Group accountable for its actions.