UK to proscribe Russia’s Wagner Group

UK to proscribe Russia's Wagner Group

Russia’s Wagner Group – the private military company whose leader Yevgeny Prigozhin led an abortive rebellion against Vladimir Putin before being killed in a plane crash last month – is to be proscribed in the UK as a terrorist organisation.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has today laid before Parliament a draft order to proscribe Wagner Group under the Terrorism Act 2000. The Home Office describes the organisation as a “proxy military force of Vladimir Putin’s Russia”.

Once agreed, the order will come into force on 13 September, making it a criminal offence to belong to, encourage support for, assist or use the logo of that group. Certain proscription offences can be punishable by up to 14 years in prison, which can be handed down alongside or in place of a fine.

Wagner’s assets can also be categorised as terrorist property and seized.

Ms Braverman said: “Wagner is a violent and destructive organisation which has acted as a military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia overseas. 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. 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.”

Security minister Tom Tugendhat added: “Proscription names Wagner Group for what they truly are – terrorists.

“This is a murderous organisation which is responsible for committing atrocities across the world.

“Proscribing Wagner sends a clear message that the UK will not tolerate Russia’s proxies and their barbaric actions in Ukraine, and condemns Wagner’s campaign of corruption and bloodshed on the African continent, which has been repeatedly linked to human rights violations.”

In a press release, the Home Office said: “Despite recent events, including the group’s attempted coup against Moscow and the alleged death of its leadership, the threat from Wagner Group continues to endure.

“Designating the Wagner Group for proscription is also a response to requests made by Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy who has called for the group to be treated as a terrorist organisation. The UK will maintain its unwavering support for Ukraine and continue to condemn Russian aggression.

“The order will be debated in Parliament this week and once passed, Wagner Group will become the 79th organisation to be proscribed in the UK.

“Other groups who have been proscribed by the British government include al-Qaeda, ISIS and Hizballah.”

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