US sanctions Wagner Group's financial support from a Chinese company
For allegedly providing satellite footage of Ukraine to support the mercenary Wagner Group's military operations for Russia, the US has sanctioned a Chinese corporation.
16 organizations have been given restrictions by the Treasury Department, including the Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute.
Spacety China, another name for the company, has offices in Beijing and Luxembourg.
Wagner provides thousands of fighters to Russia for the Ukraine War.
Spacety Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite photos of places in Ukraine were given to Terra Tech, a technology company with offices in Russia, by China, according to a statement released on Thursday by the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The statement read, "These photographs were obtained to support Wagner combat operations in Ukraine." The division has also penalized Spacety's business in Luxembourg.
Any transfer, payment, or export of property or interests in the United States to the targeted entities is prohibited by the sanctions.
China has not yet reacted to the action.
China, a strong friend of Russia, has made an effort to present itself as a third party in the conflict in Ukraine. The US and its allies have criticized it for failing to denounce Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Spacety China claims to be a "pioneer" in the commercial SAR technology sector and states on its website that it aims to "make SAR images of every point on earth accessible and inexpensive" for users all over the world.
SAR is a kind of radar technology that uses smaller antennas to produce images with higher resolution.
According to the corporate website, Yang Feng, the chief executive officer, is a member of the panel of experts for China's Ministry of Science and Technology.
The website also includes a number of collaboration partners, such as the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and state-owned businesses China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation and China Electronics Technology Group Corporation.
In addition to Spacety China, the US imposed sanctions on 15 other organizations, eight people, and four planes, many of which are based in Russia and are allegedly connected to Wagner's international support network.
These include the central African-based Sewa Security Services and the United Arab Emirates-based Kratol Aviation, which allegedly provided aircraft to transport personnel and supplies between central Africa, Libya, and Mali.
Approximately 50,000 fighters are now under Wagner's command in Ukraine, according to estimates from the White House. The group is crucial to Russia's combat efforts and has actively participated in operations to seize Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, serves as its leader.
Putin's capacity to arm and equip his war machine will be further hampered by today's increased sanctions on Wagner, as well as new penalties on their partners and other businesses supporting the Russian military complex, according to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
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