U.S. sanctions on the head of the Russian Wagner Group in Mali were extended Friday as the U.S. Treasury Department announced that employees of the Wagner Group were transporting landmines, drones, radars and anti-tank equipment through the African country of Mali for use in Ukraine. Trying to get.
Treasury Undersecretary Brian Nelson, who oversees terrorism and financial intelligence, said the sanctions against the Wagner Group's top representative in Mali are indicative of the group's global involvement. These restrictions disrupt group activities.
Aleksandrovich Maslov (photo courtesy of Wagner Group's Russian business watchdog website
Who is the head of Wagner in Mali?
Wagner's head in Mali is named Ivan Alexandrovich Maslov. He is believed to be the head of Wagner's paramilitary units and his main director in Mali. However, its image is impossible to find. No international organization has provided a picture of this mysterious person so far. The group's news-monitoring website reported a photo of a young blond man, but al-Arabiya.net could not confirm its authenticity.
He was born in January 1980, according to the Wagner Group website. Little is known about his early career. But he is said to have worked for a period in the Russian military intelligence agency.
Maslov left the intelligence agency in 2014 to work for others. With the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and the beginning of Russian forces experimenting with overseas deployments, they adopted mercenary practices. Maslov was then reported to have taken part in the attack on Luhansk Airport in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, at the start of the war.
Later, Wagner's commander Yevgeny Prigozhin and Wagner's chief of operations Dmitri Valryevich Itkin assigned Maslov to lead the group's mercenary units in Mali. In his role as Wagner's chief director, Masloff also arranged housing for the group's troops visiting Mali.
It is noteworthy that several Western countries have expressed concern over Wagner's activities in Mali since late 2021. Mali had a military coup in 2021. Russia also confirmed that the Russian forces there are not mercenaries but trainers helping local forces use equipment bought from Moscow.
Washington has repeatedly warned against this and termed the situation Wagner's destabilizing activities. The US has tightened sanctions on the private military group in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year.
On Monday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller warned that Wagner was trying to move military equipment through Mali. Two days ago, the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, denied these allegations, but the United States called it a hoax.