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The UK is set to officially designate Wagner as a terrorist organization.

The UK government is taking steps to designate the Russian mercenary group Wagner as a terrorist organization. This move will make it illegal to be a member or support the group, and its assets will be categorized as terrorist property and subject to seizure. The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, emphasized Wagner’s violent and destructive nature and its role as a military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. She called its activities in Ukraine and Africa a threat to global security, stating that Wagner serves the Kremlin’s political goals. The group has been involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as operations in Syria, Libya, Mali, and other countries, with allegations of crimes including killings and torture. The uncertain future of the group followed a failed mutiny led by its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who died in a suspicious plane crash.

The UK’s Terrorism Act 2000 empowers the Home Secretary to proscribe organizations believed to be involved in terrorism, and the proscription order will criminalize support for Wagner, carrying penalties of up to 14 years in prison or a fine of up to £5,000. Pressure from MPs and calls for proscription had been mounting, with Labour’s David Lammy urging action and suggesting a Special Tribunal to prosecute Putin. The Foreign Office had previously imposed sanctions on Wagner, but critics argued that this was insufficient, pointing to the group’s influence in African states. While Wagner has been weakened by internal strife and leadership losses, formal proscription will impede its financial activities and potentially open avenues for compensation claims against the group through British courts, amounting to billions of pounds.