Russia’s Wagner to be declared a terrorist organisation by U.K.: report

Proscribing Wagner as a terrorist organisation would mean it would be a criminal offence in Britain to belong to or promote the group

September 06, 2023 12:06 pm | Updated 03:45 pm IST

A view shows a flag of the Wagner private mercenary group at the site of the plane crash that killed Wagner PMC top figures, including Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, in the Tver Region, Russia on September 1, 2023.

A view shows a flag of the Wagner private mercenary group at the site of the plane crash that killed Wagner PMC top figures, including Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, in the Tver Region, Russia on September 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Russian mercenary Wagner Group is set to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the U.K. Government, the BBC reported on Tuesday citing a draft order.

The draft order will allow Wagner's assets to be categorised as terrorist property and seized, BBC said, adding that it will be illegal to be a member or support the organisation according to the order.

U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman told the BBC that Wagner was "violent and destructive ... a military tool of Vladimir Putin's Russia".

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"They are terrorists, plain and simple - and this proscription order makes that clear in U.K. law," she said.

Proscribing Wagner as a terrorist organisation would mean it would be a criminal offence in Britain to belong to or promote the group, arrange or address its meetings, and carry its logo in public.

The Wagner mercenary group was deployed in Ukraine soon after the Russian invasion last year.

By December, the group took a central role in the battle for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut after enlisting thousands of prisoners in Russian jails to fight for it on front lines and until recently was the mainstay of the Russian offensive.

Britain's move to declare Wagner a terrorist group comes after lawmakers on the Foreign Affairs Committee in July urged more targeted sanctions on what it said were a "web of entities" beneath the Wagner Group.

Britain sanctioned Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin in 2020, the Wagner Group as a whole in March 2022, and in July this year sanctioned individuals and businesses with links to the group in the Central African Republic, Mali and Sudan.

Prigozhin died when his private Embraer jet crashed while travelling to St. Petersburg from Moscow on August 23. Russia said it would investigate the crash, but no cause has yet been made public.

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