The US Treasury Department accused Russia’s private military company, Wagner Group, of providing missiles to Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and “contributing to a prolonged armed conflict”, Anadolu News Agency reports.
This came on Thursday when the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Wagner’s head in Mali, Ivan Aleksandrovich Maslov, blaming him for attempting to acquire weapons for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Most recently in Sudan, the Wagner Group has been supplying Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces with surface-to-air missiles to fight against Sudan’s army, contributing to a prolonged armed conflict that only results in further chaos in the region,” a Treasury statement said.
Last month, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that Sudan’s legitimate authorities have the right to use the services of the Wagner group.
Earlier, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, voiced “deep concern” over the military company’s activities in the war-torn country.
“It’s in so many different countries, and in Africa, an element that, when it’s engaged, simply brings more death and destruction with it,” Blinken said during a joint press conference with his Kenyan counterpart, Alfred Mutua.
Earlier this week, the International Organisation for Migration said that more than one million people have been internally displaced since the outbreak of clashes between the Sudanese army and the RSF last month.
A disagreement had been fomenting in recent months between the two sides over the integration of the RSF into the armed forces — a key condition of Sudan’s transition agreement with political groups.
Sudan has been without a functioning government since fall 2021, when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency in a move decried by political forces as a “coup”.
The transitional period, which started in August 2019 after the ouster of President Omar Al-Bashir, had been scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.