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London to include Wagner on its list of terrorist organizations

London to include Wagner on its list of terrorist organizations
Members of the Wagner Group military company atop a tank on a street in Rostov-on-Don,   -  
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AP/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom will include the Russian paramilitary group Wagner on its list of terrorist organizations, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed on Wednesday.

“Launched by Putin 's Kremlin, the Wagner Group's methods of torture, theft, and barbarity threaten democracy and freedom around the world,” wrote the head of the British government on the social network X (formerly Twitter) .

“It is right that today we proscribe this group for what it is: a terrorist organization,” he added.

Citing Interior Minister Suella Braverman, British media announced Tuesday evening the placement of Wagner on the list of terrorist organizations.

These new measures against Wagner must be presented to Parliament on Wednesday. Once the bill passes, being a member of Wagner or supporting this group will be illegal. Wagner's property could be considered terrorist property and seized.

“Wagner is a violent and destructive organization that has acted as a foreign military tool for Vladimir Putin’s Russia,” Ms. Braverman said.

"While the Putin regime decides what to do with the monster it has created, Wagner's continued destabilizing activities only continue to serve the Kremlin's political goals," she added.

The British Home Secretary has the power to “proscribe” an organization she considers involved in acts of terrorism. This “prescription”, which already applies in particular to the jihadist organizations Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, makes it a criminal offense to support the organization in question.

Wagner is "a threat to global security", Suella Braverman continued, promising that the UK would continue "to help Ukraine as much as possible in its fight against Russia".

“The Wagner group is very active in Ukraine but also in other theaters, including Africa and the Sahel ,” recalled Defense Minister Grant Shapps.

This proscription aims to “prevent them from establishing themselves in Great Britain ,” added the minister.

War crimes

In July, London had already announced sanctions against 13 individuals and organizations linked to Wagner in Africa, accusing them of war crimes.

The announcement of these new measures comes two weeks after the death of Wagner's boss, Yevgeni Prigozhin, and his lieutenants on August 23 in the crash of their plane between Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Investigators have so far put forward no explanation or leads, while Westerners see the hand of the Kremlin behind the air disaster.

Russian President Vladimir Putin considered Yevgeni Prigozhin a traitor since Wagner's armed rebellion on June 23 and 24.

Prigozhin then launched his mutiny to obtain the head of the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff, whom he accused of incompetence and of preventing the supply of ammunition to Wagner's troops in Ukraine.

He abandoned his coup after 24 hours and seemed to have managed to escape the wrath of the Kremlin by agreeing to go into exile in Belarus and continue his activities in Africa.

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