UK declares Wagner Group a ‘terrorist organisation’ as members face 14 years in jail | World | News


The Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary group, is set to soon join Hamas and the Revolutionary Guard among the organisations proscribed as terrorist groups by the UK Government.

This means people joining or supporting this paramilitary and mercenary organisation will break the law in Britain.

This announcement comes ahead of a draft order to be laid in Parliament, which will allow Wagner’s assets to be categorised as terrorist property and seized.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman described the mercenary troops as “violent and destructive” and a “military tool of Vladimir Putin‘s Russia“.

The Group, which was key up to May in the months-long Battle of Bakhmut in Ukraine and is known to operate in several African nations including the Central African Republic, is a “threat to global security”, Ms Braverman added.

She also said: “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.”

The Terrorism Act 2000 grants the Home Secretary the power to proscribe an organisation if they believe it is linked to terrorist activities or concerned in terrorism.

People committing a proscription offence could face 14 years behind bars or a fine of up to £5,000.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy had previously urged the Government to proscribe Wagner, which he said was “responsible for the appalling atrocities in Ukraine and across the world”.

He added: “No one in the UK should be allowed to belong to the Wagner Group, support it or promote it.”

Ms Braverman’s move came after the Foreign Affairs Committee published in July its report focused on the Russian paramilitary group, titled “Guns for gold: the Wagner Network exposed”.

The report was highly critical of the Government’s response to the threats posed by the Wagner Network and urged Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet to change its approach to disrupting it.

Ms Braverman’s announcement also comes two weeks after the death of the group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Mr Prigozhin was aboard a private jet that crashed north of Moscow on the afternoon of August 23.

The jet’s passenger list also recorded the names of two other key personalities within Wagner: the group’s founder, Dmitry Utkin, and logistics chief Valery Chekalov.

Following the death of the three Wagner leaders, the future of the group has been plunged into uncertainty.

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