UK to Recognise Russian Criminal Wagner Group as Terrorist Organisation and Ban It
The UK government is set to designate the Russian private military company, the Wagner Group, as a terrorist organisation and will enforce a ban on it within the coming weeks.
This was reported by the Financial Times, citing insider sources within the British government.
According to the protocol, Home Secretary Suella Braverman will make the announcement shortly under the powers provided by the Terrorism Act of 2000, following months spent by officials in constructing a detailed legal case.
With this decision, the Wagner Group will effectively be outlawed by British legislation. This means that membership in, encouragement of, support for, or use of its logo will constitute a criminal offence.
The ban will place Wagner in the same legal category in the UK as other terrorist organisations such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Hezbollah. It will also allow for the confiscation of the mercenaries' financial assets.
The move comes after harsh accusations of inaction by Members of Parliament. In July, a cross-party group of parliamentarians labelled London's approach to dealing with the Wagner Group as "extremely insufficient."
The MPs concluded that the "network's activities already exceed the legal threshold for a ban set in the UK."
The UK has previously imposed some sanctions against the Wagner Group, its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, and several high-ranking commanders of the militarised criminal network of mercenaries. On July 20th, sanctions were introduced against 13 individuals and companies associated with the violent actions of the Russian PMC Wagner in Mali, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Sudan.
Earlier reports indicated that the UK government had delayed listing the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation due to an alleged coup attempt by Prigozhin and subsequent statements by Russian President Putin.
It is worth noting that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly recognised Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism earlier this year, and the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation.
In a related development, Poland recently arrested two Russians for spreading Wagner Group propaganda.
Lithuania has also closed several border crossing points with Belarus due to the presence of armed members of this criminal organisation in the country.