The Wagner mercenary group is set to face the designation of a terrorist organization on British soil, according to an announcement from the Home Office. A forthcoming draft order, to be presented in parliament imminently, will render it illegal to either affiliate with or lend support to this Russian entity within the United Kingdom. Notably, this group has wielded substantial influence during Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, a conflict commencing in February 2022.
Not confined to one theater of conflict, the Wagner group has been active in a host of destabilizing arenas, spanning Syria, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Libya. The decision to proscribe this organization under the Terrorism Act of 2000 was primarily driven by the extensive nature and scale of its activities, alongside the perceived threat it poses to British nationals abroad.
Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, emphasized the menace posed by Wagner, characterizing it as a “violent and destructive organization” that has been employed as a military instrument by Russia’s Vladimir Putin on foreign soil. She highlighted the group’s role in looting, torture, and heinous acts of violence, citing its operations in Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa as a global security concern.
Braverman stressed that the proscription order serves as a clear declaration under UK law that Wagner is, in essence, a terrorist organization. The move coincides with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, with the UK signaling its unwavering support for Ukraine’s struggle against Russia.
This development follows the recent demise of Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a plane crash last month. His death occurred just two months after Prigozhin briefly staged an armed rebellion against Russia’s military leadership, posing a significant challenge to Vladimir Putin’s authority, which has prevailed for 23 years.
The Home Office’s decision underscores the gravity of the situation and aligns with the broader international stance against illicit armed groups perpetrating violence and instability across the globe.