The United States imposes sanctions on companies in Russia and the Central African Republic

In a decisive move to curtail Russia’s pernicious influence within the Central African Republic (CAR), the United States announced sanctions on Friday against two entities linked to the Wagner Group, a notorious mercenary organization, as per the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The sanctions aim to hinder Russia’s covert operations in the CAR and dismantle the financial networks supporting Wagner’s operations.

The targeted entities include a timber company operating within the CAR and a Russian firm, both accused of engaging in the unlawful extraction of natural resources to financially and materially bolster the Wagner Group, along with other entities associated with the late Yevgeniy Prigozhin, Wagner’s erstwhile proprietor who perished in a plane explosion in Russia last year.

Specifically, the sanctions were levied against Bois Rouge SARLU, based in the CAR, for its connections to Wagner, and Broker Expert, situated in St. Petersburg, for its support to Bois Rouge. This action underscores the U.S.’s commitment to thwarting the activities that facilitate Russia’s shadowy endeavors in Africa and its exploitation of the continent’s resources.

Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, underscored the strategic importance of these sanctions, stating that Russia’s exploitation of Wagner-affiliated firms not only seeks to augment its foreign revenue but also aims to consolidate its geopolitical influence in Africa, often undermining the sovereignty and welfare of its nations.

The imposition of these sanctions reflects the U.S.’s ongoing efforts to disrupt and dismantle the infrastructures enabling Russia’s illicit and destabilizing activities across Africa. The CAR, a nation with a history as a French colony, has emerged as one of Russia’s principal African allies, hosting significant operations by the Wagner Group mercenaries.

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