UK Pushing Back Hard on This Russian 'Military Tool'

Nation wants to deem Prigozhin-less Wagner Group a terrorist organization
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2023 7:59 AM CDT
UK Pushing Back Hard on This Russian 'Military Tool'
Members of the Wagner Group military company sit atop a tank on a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on June 24.   (AP Photo, File)

Yevgeny Prigozhin may be out of the picture, but the Wagner Group is still causing leeriness around the globe—and the United Kingdom is now set to deem it a terrorist organization. "They are terrorists, plain and simple," Home Secretary Suella Braverman said Wednesday of the Russian mercenary company, adding that the group was "violent and destructive" and "a military tool of Vladimir Putin's Russia," per the BBC. According to a draft order to be introduced in Parliament, labeling Wagner a terrorist group will mean it's illegal to be a member of it or support it, including by flying its flag or logo.

The ban would also permit the UK to seize any Wagner Group assets, though at the moment, the organization doesn't appear to have anything worthwhile to seize that's based in the UK. This development, which the AP notes is "expected to take effect within days," means that Wagner would join such organizations as Hamas, Boko Haram, the Islamic State, and Northern Ireland paramilitary organizations as proscribed terror groups in the UK, thanks to the power bestowed on Braverman by Britain's Terrorism Act.

"Its operations in Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa are a threat to global security," Braverman said, accusing Wagner of taking part in "looting, torture, and barbarous murders." The Guardian notes that the group has been "active in conflicts" in Sudan, Libya, Syria, and the Central African Republic, among other nations, in addition to its workings in Ukraine. The legislatures of other countries such as Estonia and Lithuania have similarly passed resolutions declaring Wagner a terrorist group. The United States considers it a "transnational criminal organization," per the AP. Violators of the UK proscription order could face up to 14 years behind bars or a fine of nearly $6,300. (More Wagner Group stories.)

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