WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House mentioned Thursday that the Wagner Group, a non-public Russian army firm, has taken supply of an arms cargo from North Korea to assist bolster its forces because it fights side-by-side with Russian troops in Ukraine.
White House Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned U.S. intelligence officers decided that North Korea accomplished an preliminary arms cargo that included rockets and missiles final month.
“We assess that the amount of material delivered to Wagner will not change battlefield dynamics in Ukraine,” Kirby mentioned. “But we’re certainly concerned that North Korea is planning to deliver more military equipment.”
The White House has expressed alarm about Wagner’s growing involvement in the war as it has been particularly active in the eastern Donbas region. Kirby said in certain instances Russian military officials have even been “subordinate to Wagner’s command.”
Kirby said the U.S. now assesses that Wagner has some 50,000 personnel fighting in Ukraine, including 10,000 contractors and 40,000 convicts that the company has recruited from prisons.
The U.S. assesses that Wagner, owned by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, is spending about $100 million a month in the fight, Kirby said.
Wagner Group mercenaries have also been accused by Western countries and UN experts of numerous human rights abuses throughout Africa, including in the Central African Republic, Libya and Mali. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced he had designated the Wagner Group as an “entity of particular concern” for its actions within the Central African Republic.
Wagner has confronted U.S. sanctions since 2017. The Commerce Division on Wednesday unveiled new export restrictions concentrating on Wagner in a bid to additional prohibit its entry to expertise and provides.
The White House has repeatedly sought to highlight intelligence findings that present Russia — struggling to keep up a gradual provide of arms for its warfare in Ukraine and pinched by sanctions which are limiting entry to key parts for weapons manufacturing — has restricted choices to assist it resupply weapons.
Russia has additionally turned to Iran to offer drones to make use of in opposition to Ukraine, and the Biden administration has expressed concern that Russia could search to accumulate further superior standard weapons from Iran. The White House has beforehand mentioned that Moscow was trying to North Korea to offer it with artillery.
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