The United States believes Yevgeny Prgozhin, an ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is interested in acquiring salt, gypsum and other minerals from Bakhmut mines. A White House official confirmed this on Thursday (5 January).
According to the official, there are indications that Russia and Prigozhin have monetary motives in their “obsession” with Bakhmut. Prigozhin is the owner of private Russian military company Wagner Group.
The United States had chargedRussians with exploiting natural resources of Mali, Sudan and Central African Republic in order to finance Moscow’s war against Ukraine. Russia dismissed the accusations as “anti-Russian fury”.
For his role in Wagner, Prigozhin was sanctioned by the West. He said good-bye to ex-prisoners who served their sentences in Ukraine and encouraged them to resist the temptation of murdering when they return to civilian society.
The White House announced late last month that the Wagner Group had received an arms shipment from North Korea to support Russian forces in Ukraine. This indicates that the group is expanding its involvement in the conflict.
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