UK Declares Wagner Group a Terrorist Organization
The British Government classified on Wednesday the Russian mercenary Wagner Group as a terrorist organization and made support to the group illegal.
“We pledged to do all we can to support Ukraine and discussed the importance of the U.K.’s decision to proscribe the Wagner Group,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman said after meeting with Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko in London.
The U.K. stands in solidarity with Ukraine as they resist Putin's Shameful War,” she said in a post on X.
Braverman presented last week a draft order to Parliament that aimed to ban support for Wagner Group under the Terrorism Act 2000 and on Wednesday the ban became official and a violation can carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, along with possible fines.
“Wagner is a violent and destructive organization which has acted as a military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia overseas. 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,” Braverman said presenting the draft.
The official proscription will make it illegal to belong to, encourage, help, or use the Wagner Group's logo and Wagner's assets will be classified as terrorist property and subject to seizure.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a "Russian oligarch and mercenary leader," founded the Wagner Group in 2014. This paramilitary force, which operates globally, is not officially recognized or legal but has strong ties to the Kremlin.
Putin disclosed during a meeting with military personnel from the Ministry of Defense in June that the Russian government has been fully responsible for funding the Wagner Group.
He stated that within a year, the government allocated over 86 billion rubles (US$873.096 million) to cover the group's expenses and provide additional incentive payments to its fighters, as reported by Russian state-owned news agency TASS.
In early 2022, the U.K. imposed sanctions on the group as part of an initial wave of measures against Russia. In July 2023, the U.K. further sanctioned 13 individuals and businesses associated with the group's activities.
“Proscribing Wagner sends a clear message that the U.K. will not tolerate Russia’s proxies and their barbaric actions in Ukraine, and condemns Wagner’s campaign of corruption and bloodshed on the African continent, which has been repeatedly linked to human rights violations,” said U.K.’s Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat.
Additionally, the U.K.’s Government declared that by designating Wagner Group as a terrorist entity, the U.K. is also responding to the calls made by Ukraine's President Zelenskyy, who has urged the international community to classify the group as a terrorist organization.
Notable groups that have faced legal restrictions and bans from the British government include al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Hezbollah.