The United States said the possible deployment of Russia-backed Wagner Group forces in Mali would bring no peace, but destabilise the region.
“Wagner forces, known for destabilising activities and human rights abuses ,will not bring peace to Mali, but rather will destabilize the country further,” State Department spokesman, Ned Price said in a statement on Wednesday.
The monthly $10 million that will be paid to the private military contractor for their operations could be used to support the Malian Armed Forces and public services, the statement said.
The United States sanctioned the contractor for actions in the Central African Republic (CAR), where “Wagner elements carried out extrajudicial killings of members of predominantly Muslim Peuhl communities,” Price said.
The European Union on Monday also imposed sanctions on the Wagner Group over clandestine operations on the Kremlin’s behalf.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said private military contractors have the right to work and pursue their interests anywhere in the world as long as they do not break Russian law. He also said the Wagner Group neither represented the Russian state nor was paid by it.