According to the US, North Korea will continue to supply weapons to Wagner Group mercenaries living in Ukraine. It released an image that showed a shipment missiles and rockets being taken.
North Korea previously denied the claims, as well as Wagner owner Yevgeny Prizhin who called it “gossip & speculation” last month.
According to the White House, the satellite image showed a Russian train traveling to North Korea in order to collect arms.
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John Kirby, White House national security spokesperson, stated that North Korea loaded railcars with shipping containers on November 19th and then the train returned to Russia.
He stated that while we believe that Wagner’s material has not affected the battlefield dynamics in Ukraine we still expect it to continue to receive weapons systems from North Korea.”
The Wagner Group and its global support networks will face tougher sanctions next week, Mr Kirby said.
It will also freeze all assets in the US, and prohibit Americans from providing goods or funds to it.
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Kirby stated: “With these actions and more to follow, our message for any company considering supporting Wagner is this: Wagner is a criminal organization that is committing widespread atrocities, human rights abuses, we will work tirelessly to identify and disrupt, expose, and target those who are assisting Wagner.”
He estimated that there are about 50,000 people in the private security company fighting alongside Russia’s troops in Ukraine. 40,000 of these were Russian prisoners.
It was particularly active in fighting in Bakhmut, Soledar, eastern Ukraine, and the White House is becoming increasingly concerned about its involvement.
Russia’s defense ministry has reservations about Wagner’s recruitment strategy, but the US believes that it will continue to recruit prisoners. Kirby agreed.
Sky News visited a cemetery in South Russia for Wagner mercenaries and found rows upon rows of identical new graves. This is a sign of the suffering the group is experiencing. Ukraine claims that thousands of people have died.