The UK Home Office has announced its decision to designate the Russian Wagner mercenary group as a terrorist organization. This declaration will make it a criminal offense to be a member of or support the group. A draft order to be presented in Parliament will enable the categorization of Wagner’s assets as terrorist property, subject to seizure. Supporting the group, including organizing meetings to further its activities, expressing support for its aims, or displaying its flag or logo, will also become criminal offenses.
Committing such offenses could result in a prison sentence of up to 14 years or a fine of £500,000. This move places Wagner in the company of other proscribed organizations in the UK, such as Hamas and Boko Haram. Home Secretary Suella Braverman described Wagner as a “violent and destructive” entity, labeling it a “military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia” and a “threat to global security.”
Wagner has been involved in Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Syria, and African countries like Libya and Mali, facing accusations of various crimes, including killing and torturing Ukrainian citizens. The UK Foreign Office had previously imposed sanctions on the group, targeting its leaders’ assets.