US Treasury sanctions head of Wagner operations in Mali

The U.S. Treasury announced on May 25 that it had sanctioned Ivan Maslov, the head of operations in Mali for Russia's Wagner mercenary group.

According to the press release, "the Wagner Group may be attempting to obscure its efforts to acquire military equipment for use in Ukraine, including by working through Mali and other countries where it has a foothold."

Maslov has worked "in close coordination" with Malian government officials to secure accommodations for Wagner mercenaries prior to their deployment in Mali, as well as arranged meetings between Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and government officials from several African nations.

Additionally, Maslov has overseen Wagner's interests in extracting natural resources, the U.S. Treasury said.

The U.S. has previously accused Wagner mercenaries of exploiting natural resources in the Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, and elsewhere to fund its role in the war against Ukraine.

On Feb. 21, the Financial Times also reported that Prigozhin earned $250 million in assets over the past four years from oil, gas, diamond, and gold mining in countries such as Sudan and Syria.

Any of Maslov's assets located within the U.S., whether they are owned directly or indirectly, are now blocked as a result of the sanctions.

Prigozhin and his closest family members have already been put under financial sanctions by a number of countries, including the U.S. and Ukraine in 2022 and the U.K. in 2020.