Wagner chief says sanctions against him ‘reasonable’
The chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said Wednesday that European sanctions against him and his fighting force were justified and he did not plan to fight them in court.
“As for contesting sanctions against me and sanctions against PMC Wagner, I am not going to contest them and I believe that at the moment they are imposed quite reasonably,” he said in a statement.
Prigozhin is an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his recruits have been fighting for months to capture the battle-scarred city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
He made the statement after a European court earlier Wednesday cancelled EU sanctions imposed on his mother, Violetta Prigozhina, ruling that Brussels had not proved she was linked to her son's actions in Ukraine.
In a statement, the EU General Court said even if Prigozhin was responsible for illegal acts in Ukraine, the evidence presented against his mother when the sanctions were applied last year was insufficient.
The European Union has imposed visa bans and asset freezes on many Russians accused of playing a role in the conflict, starting in March 2014 when Moscow seized Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.
In February last year, the day before Russia launched a military campaign in Ukraine, Brussels updated its sanctions lists with several names including that of Prighozin's 83-year-old mother.
She challenged the order, however, and on Wednesday the EU court ruled in her favor.
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