The British government’s interior ministry announced on Wednesday its intention to declare the Russian private military company, Wagner Group, as a terrorist organization. This move will render membership or any form of support for the group illegal.
The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, characterized Wagner as “violent and destructive,” functioning as a military instrument of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and emphasized that its actions posed a threat to worldwide security.
In a draft order, the ministry announced that a preliminary directive, set to be presented to parliament, will enable the classification of Wagner’s assets as terrorist assets and their subsequent confiscation.
“They are terrorists, plain and simple – and this proscription order makes that clear in UK law,” Braverman said.
The statement described Wagner’s involvement in looting, torture, and inhumane killings as a menace to global security, spanning regions including Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa.
Reuters reported that the directive is anticipated to take effect on September 13. Following this date, it would be considered a criminal violation to be affiliated with or advocate for the organization, organize or participate in its gatherings, or display its emblem publicly. Those found guilty of such actions could face up to a prison sentence of 14 years.
Wagner played a significant part in Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine and also had a presence in Syria, as well as various African nations such as Libya and Mali.
According to BBC reports, there are allegations of wrongdoing by its members including accusations of committing crimes such as the killing and torture of Ukrainian civilians.
On X, formerly Twitter, David Lammy, the opposition Labour Party’s foreign affairs policy chief, said, “This is long overdue, but it’s welcome the government has finally acted.
“Now the government should press for a Special Tribunal to prosecute Putin for his crime of aggression.”