US State Department adviser Derek Chollet said: “We see that the Wagner group is trying to hire military personnel in Serbia and other countries, and we are not going to tolerate this.”
Chollet noted that Washington is doing everything possible to stop the activities of “PMC Wagner” in Serbia and other countries where it tries to be present. On Thursday, he held talks in Belgrade with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. During the meeting, according to him, among other things, the activities of a private military company headed by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, which is actively involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, were discussed, Chollet quotes Associated Press:
“We see that the Wagner group is trying to recruit military personnel in Serbia and other countries – and we are not going to tolerate this. I don’t know if there is concern about this [в Сербии]but we talked about our concerns. And we want to start joint action with the authorities in Belgrade and other places where Wagner has a presence to put an end to this activity.”
Chollet said that the Wagner group is “acting horribly around the world, whether it’s in Libya, the Central African Republic, or right now in Ukraine.” The group, which includes a large contingent of prisoners recruited from Russian prisons, has spearheaded attacks in eastern Ukraine, including heavy fighting in Soledar and Bakhmut.
Wagner Group mercenaries are also accused by Western countries and UN experts of numerous human rights violations across Africa, including in the Central African Republic, Libya and Mali. Earlier, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called it “an organization of particular concern” for its activities in the Central African Republic.
The agency notes that Wagner PMC spoke about its presence in Serbia, the only European state, except for Belarus, which still has not imposed sanctions against the Russian Federation in connection with its aggression against Ukraine. According to journalists, earlier there were reports that the PMC opened its information center in Serbia, but later this information was refuted.
Moscow-based RT, which launched its Serbian-language news site in Serbia, published Wagner’s announcement of recruiting fighters in Ukraine, saying the group was offering “more than attractive” incentives.
Wagner PMC fighters take an active part in hostilities in Ukraine, formally not submitting to the RF Ministry of Defense, writes Air Force. Many volunteers in the PMC recruited in Russian coloniespromising them pardon after six months of service. Officially, mercenarism in Russia is prohibited and prosecuted under Article 359 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
US Consider possibility of recognition “PMC Wagner” as a terrorist organization, collecting information about the work of “Wagnerites” in different countries, including Serbia, Mali and the Central African Republic.