Slovak Leader of European Night Wolves Chapter Put on EU Sanctions List

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(stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 22 (TASR) – The EU has put Slovak national Jozef Hambalek – the head of the European chapter of the Russian pro-Putin motorcycle gang the Night Wolves based in Slovakia – on its sanctions list.

“Hambalek, who can be connected to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and other representatives of the Russian government, is publicly known for building the Europe headquarters of the Nightwolves MC on a former military base in Slovakia, for which he used discarded military equipment, including tanks. His ongoing activities, which allegedly include training Nightwolves members for active combat in Ukraine on his properties and actively promoting pro-Russian propaganda in Europe, can be deemed as a security threat for Ukraine and the EU. Jozef Hambalek is therefore a natural person supporting, materially or financially, actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” reads the decision released in the Official Journal of the EU.

The Night Wolves are a nationalist motorcycle club founded in Moscow in 1989 that has approximately 45 branches worldwide, the journal explained. The club is said to be actively involved in Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine by publicly supporting the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the 2022 war against Ukraine. Its members are alleged to be actively fighting in Ukraine. The group also allegedly received state funding from the Kremlin between 2013 and 2015.

On Thursday, 48 individuals and nine legal entities were added to the EU sanctions list, including Hambalek. In total, the blacklist includes 1,229 individuals and 110 legal entities responsible for actions that undermine or threaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.