London, Sept 6 (The Street Press) – The British government plans to label the Russian mercenary Wagner Group as a terrorist organization, according to the interior ministry. This means it will become illegal to be part of the group or support it.
The interior ministry has stated that a proposed order, which will be presented to parliament, will enable Wagner Group’s assets to be classified as terrorist property and confiscated.
The UK’s interior minister, Suella Braverman, has characterized the Wagner Group as “violent and destructive,” and she mentioned that it has functioned as a military instrument for Vladimir Putin’s Russia in foreign operations.
The statement highlighted that Wagner has been engaged in activities such as looting, torture, and “barbarous murders” across Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa. It described these actions as a significant threat to global security.
She stated, “They are terrorists, plain and simple,” and emphasized that this proscription order unequivocally establishes this fact in UK law.
The order is anticipated to take effect on September 13. Following its implementation, belonging to or advocating for the group, organizing or attending its gatherings, and displaying its logo in public will become criminal offenses, carrying penalties of up to 14 years in prison.
David Lammy, the foreign affairs policy chief of the opposition Labour Party, expressed that this action was “long overdue” and suggested that the government should now advocate for a Special Tribunal to prosecute Putin for his alleged crime of aggression.
The Wagner mercenary group has been active in Syria, Libya, and several nations in northern and western Africa. It notably recruited numerous individuals from Russian prisons to participate in combat in Ukraine, serving as the primary assault force during Russia’s winter offensive in 2022-2023.
In June of this year, the group initiated a brief mutiny within Russia, an act that was denounced as treason by President Vladimir Putin. Subsequently, on August 23, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the group, and key associates were tragically killed in a plane crash.
Britain had previously imposed sanctions on Prigozhin in 2020, on the Wagner Group as a whole in March 2022, and in July of this year, it also sanctioned individuals and businesses connected to the group in the Central African Republic, Mali, and Sudan.
In July, members of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee called for more specific sanctions to be imposed on what they identified as a “network of entities” operating beneath the umbrella of the Wagner Group.