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UK set to ban Russia's Wagner Group as terrorist organisation; cites global security threat

The UK is set to ban the Russian paramilitary group, the Wagner Group, as a terrorist organisation, citing its violent activities and global security threats, alongside sanctions against individuals linked to the group.

UK set to ban Russia's Wagner Group as terrorist organisation; cites global security threat snt
First Published Sep 6, 2023, 11:28 AM IST

Britain has decided to outlaw the Russian paramilitary organisation known as the Wagner Group by designating it as a terrorist organisation, according to reports in the media. Home Secretary Suella Braverman made this announcement, stating that the UK would use anti-terrorism legislation to proscribe the Wagner Group, thereby placing it in the same category as the likes of Islamic State and al-Qaeda, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Braverman was quoted as saying, "Wagner is a violent and destructive organisation which has acted as a military tool of Vladimir Putin's Russia overseas." She further noted, "While Putin's regime decides what to do with the monster it created, Wagner's continuing destabilizing activities only continue to serve the Kremlin's political goals."

Under the Terrorism Act of 2000, the home secretary possesses the authority to proscribe an organisation if there is a belief that it is involved in acts of terrorism. A proscription order renders it a criminal offense to support the group. The BBC also reported on this development, stating, "They are terrorists, plain and simple -- and this proscription order makes that clear in UK law."

In the Daily Mail, Braverman added, "Wagner has been involved in looting, torture, and barbarous murders." She emphasized that the group's operations in Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa pose a significant threat to global security. To counteract this threat, the UK has decided to proscribe this terrorist organisation and continue to support Ukraine in its struggle against Russia.

The forthcoming draft measures to ban the Wagner Group under the Terrorism Act will be presented in Parliament on Wednesday, according to the reports.

In July, the United Kingdom had already imposed sanctions on 13 individuals and businesses with alleged ties to the Wagner Group in Africa. The accusations against them included involvement in crimes such as killings and torture. These individuals and entities are now prohibited from engaging with UK citizens, companies, and banks, and their UK assets have been frozen. Among those sanctioned were Ivan Aleksandrovitch Maslov, purportedly the head of Wagner in Mali; Vitalii Viktorovitch Perfilev, its chief in the Central African Republic (CAR); and Konstantin Aleksandrovitch Pikalov, the group's operations head in CAR.

Notably, the founder of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who passed away in a plane crash the previous month, had already been subjected to sanctions by Britain. Additionally, several of his key commanders who had participated in Russia's war in Ukraine were also sanctioned. Prigozhin, once a confidant of the Kremlin, had later become a "traitor" and died two months after ordering his troops to challenge Russia's military leadership.

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