Credit: Информационное агентство БелТА

UK set to label Russia’s Wagner Group a terrorist organisation

The UK is set to formally label Russia’s Wagner Group mercenary force as a terrorist organisation, with the British Home Secretary dubbing the group a “threat to global security.”

A draft proscription order set to be laid out in the British parliament would allow the assets of Wagner to be branded terrorist property, and consequently seized by authorities.

Making the announcement, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman dubbed the group “violent and destructive,” and said they were “a military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.” She also described the force’s campaigns in Ukraine and Africa as a “threat to global security” – even after the reported death of its leaders Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin last month in a plane crash in Russia, which many deemed suspicious.

“Wagner’s continuing destabilising activities only continue to serve the Kremlin’s political goals,” Braverman said.

“They are terrorists, plain and simple – and this proscription order makes that clear in UK law.”

The Wagner Group is a Russian state-funded private military company (PMC), controlled by former Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin until his recent death. The group has played a key role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and were reportedly Russia’s main assault force in the now infamous Battle of Bakhmut.

According to Prigozhin, by May 20,000 Wagner troops had been killed attempting to seize the Ukrainian city.

In July of this year, the UK accused the group of carrying out “executions and torture in Mali and the Central African Republic,” and “threats to peace and security in Sudan.” At that time, they announced a wave of sanctions against individuals and businesses associated with the group, including Prigozhin himself.

Speaking at the time, Andrew Mitchell, Minister for Development and Africa, accused Wagner of “atrocities” in Ukraine.

“The Wagner Group is committing atrocities in Ukraine, as well as acting with impunity in countries like Mali, Central African Republic and Sudan,” he said.

“Wherever Wagner operates, it has a catastrophic effect on communities, worsens existing conflicts and damages the reputations of countries that host them.

“These sanctions expose despicable individuals who have commissioned violations of international humanitarian law, holding them to account for the severe harm they are inflicting on innocent civilians for financial gain.”

Before that, in 2020, Human Rights Watch said that Wagner had planted illegal landmines and boobytraps around the Libyan capital of Tripoli, endangering civilians in the process.

This latest move of formally proscribing the organisation will make it more difficult for members to move money, and will provide a legal basis for Ukrainians to sue Wagner for compensation within the UK legal system.


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