UK to ban Russia’s Wagner Group as terrorist organisation

The United Kingdom government will table a draft proscription order in the House of Commons on Wednesday which will impose a ban on Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation.

The proscription order will make it illegal to be a member of or support the Russian group in the UK, the Home Office said.

Certain offences related to banned terror organisations can result in 14 years imprisonment in the country.

As part of the Home Office draft order, Wagner’s assets can also be categorised as terrorist property and seized.

“Wagner is a violent and destructive organisation which has acted as a military tool of [President] Vladimir Putin’s Russia overseas,” said UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

“While Putin’s regime decides what to do with the monster it created, Wagner’s continuing destabilising activities only continue to serve the Kremlin’s political goals. They are terrorists, plain and simple – and this proscription order makes that clear in UK law,” she said.

The Indian-origin Home Secretary claimed that Wagner has been involved in “looting, torture and barbarous murders”.

“Its operations in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa are a threat to global security. That is why we are proscribing this terrorist organisation and continuing to aid Ukraine wherever we can in its fight against Russia,” she added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously called for the Wagner Group to be treated as a terrorist organisation.

The mercenary group, which was led by Yevgeny Prigozhin until he was killed in a plane crash last month, has played a prominent role in the Russian conflict with Ukraine. It is also known to be active in conflicts in other war-torn regions of Syria and Africa.

The crash that killed Prigozhin occurred just months after he mounted an attempted coup against Russia’s military leadership, ultimately calling into question Putin’s authority as Russian President.

There have been conspiracy theories floating around the suspect explosion that caused the Wagner leader and his inner circle’s death in the crash.

The UK Home Office said it considered the nature and scale of the organisation’s activities as well as the threat they pose to British nationals abroad in deciding on the proscription order.

It will bring the group in line with other banned terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda.

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