Russia’s Wagner Group has now been added to the United Kingdom’s list of proscribed organisations and branded a terrorist organisation.
Following an order tabled in Parliament on September 6, the Russian mercenary group was officially labelled as a terrorist organisation from today (September 15th).
The UK Government designation takes effect immediately, and membership in the Wagner Group or active support for the organisation will now be deemed a criminal offence in the United Kingdom.
Individuals convicted of such offences may be jailed for up to 14 years.
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In a statement, the Home Office stated: “The Russian mercenary organisation, Wagner Group, has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation today (15th September) after an order was laid in Parliament on Wednesday (6th September).
“This order comes into force with immediate effect and will make belonging to the Wagner Group or actively supporting the group in the UK a criminal offence, with a potential jail sentence of 14 years which can be handed down alongside or in place of a fine.
“The Wagner Group has now been added to the list of proscribed organisations in the UK, alongside 78 other organisations.”
The Wagner Group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, led his soldiers from eastern Ukraine into Russia at the end of June, posing the most serious challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s power in more than two decades.
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Prigozhin and three of his top deputies were killed in an unexplained plane accident last month while flying between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The order tabled in Parliament allows Wagner’s assets to be classified as terrorist holdings and confiscated.
The Wagner Group, according to the home secretary Suella Braverman, is “violent and destructive… a military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia”
She claimed that the organization’s efforts in Ukraine and Africa posed a significant threat to world security.
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Ms Braverman went on to say: “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 a key figure in Russia’s foray into Ukraine, as well as its actions in Syria and numerous African countries such as Libya and Mali.
The militants of the gang have been accused of a variety of crimes, including the murder and torture of Ukrainian nationals.
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