Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner PMC mercenary group has been designated a ‘Transnational Criminal Organization’ by the United States.

In a press conference at the White House on Friday, January 20, John Kirby, the spokesman for the US National Security Council, announced that the mercenary group Wagner PMC will be designated a ‘Transnational Criminal Organization’.

Kirby claimed that the paramilitary militia led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a convicted ex-criminal turned oligarch, had committed “tremendous atrocities and human rights abuses”.

Wagner’s actions constitute “a transcontinental threat,” he continued because of his “pattern of serious criminal activity.” He noted that the militia and its leader are acquiring “great levels of power” with possible ambitions to control the Russian military or even enter the government.

Tens of thousands of convicted criminals have already been deployed to the front lines in Ukraine. They were allegedly promised a reprieve once their contracts were fulfilled, raising concern among observers.

The sanctions against Wagner PMC will be announced next week, Kirby said, without offering more information on what they might entail.

Commenting on John Kirby’s press conference, Prighozin responded via his Concorde news agency on Telegram, where he wrote: “Finally now Wagner PMC and the Americans are colleagues. Our relationship from now on can be called ‘a clash of criminal clans.’”

The alleged atrocities by Wagner, a mercenary militia that reportedly receives extensive financial and logistical support from Russian government agencies, could open the door for Russia to finally be declared a state sponsor of terrorism in North America. If that happens, they will be added to a blacklist made up of North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Syria.

As a result, Russia would lose its immunity from US courts, opening the door to million-dollar claims for the horrors of the war in Ukraine.

Last June, the Senate passed a resolution urging the State Department to take such a step, prompting a strong response from Moscow, threatening to cut off all contacts. “It would be monstrous,” warned Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov.

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