Alleging that Wagner Group threatened spiritual freedom within the Central African Republic, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday designated the Russian personal navy firm in the identical class as Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS), Al-Qaeda branches and the Taliban.
Blinken declared Wagner an “entity of specific concern,” placing it on the identical checklist as IS associates in western and northern Africa, the Nusrat al-Islam militants in Mali, Nigeria’s Boko Haram, Somalia’s al-Shabab, the Houthis of Yemen, in addition to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham – the rebranded Al-Qaeda anti-government militants in Syria – and the Taliban of Afghanistan.
“Our announcement of those designations is consistent with our values and pursuits to guard nationwide safety and to advance human rights across the globe,” mentioned Blinken. “International locations that successfully safeguard this and different human rights are extra peaceable, steady, affluent and extra dependable companions of the US than these that don’t.”
The designation relies on the Worldwide Non secular Freedom Act, a US legislation handed in 1998 that created a particular workplace on the State Division. It follows media rumors that the US would possibly designate Wagner a terrorist group, a measure advised as a type of “lawfare” in opposition to Moscow within the battle over Ukraine.
Along with these teams, Blinken listed Myanmar, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as “international locations of specific concern” for spiritual freedom, whereas Algeria, CAR, Comoros and Vietnam have been positioned on a “particular watch checklist.”
Notably absent from the State Division checklist was Ukraine, even after the federal government in Kiev raided essentially the most distinguished Orthodox monastery, charged a number of clergymen with sympathies for Russia, and moved to ban the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church – linked to the Moscow Patriarchate – in favor of the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine.