The UK has officially banned Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group as a terrorist organisation.
The Wagner Group now joins the list of proscribed organisations in the UK, alongside 78 other organisations Hamas and Boko Haram.
The order, which comes into force with immediate effect, was approved on Friday, September 15, 2023.
It makes it illegal to be a member of the Wagner Group or actively support the group in the UK.
This includes arranging meetings to further its activities, expressing support for its aims and also displaying Wagner’s flag or logo.
Those found guilty could face a jail sentence of 14 years which can be handed down alongside or in place of a fine.
Proposing the order last week, Home Secretary, Suella Braverman called Wagner a “threat to global security.”
“Wagner’s continuing destabilising activities only continue to serve the Kremlin’s political goals. They are terrorists, plain and simple and this proscription order makes that clear in UK law.”Suella Braverman
The inclusion on the the terror list will also allow the government to seize Wagner’s property, which could pave a way for Ukrainians seeking to sue Wagner for compensation through the British court system.
In November, a UK law firm launched a lawsuit against Wagner on behalf of Ukrainian refugees living in Britain, seeking compensation for the damage from Russian aggression.
The Wager paramilitary group, founded in 2014 by Yevgeny Prigozhin, quickly became a key tool of Russian state power under President Vladimir Putin.
The group has helped to support Putin’s allies in countries such as Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, Wagner mercenaries have been at the forefront of the conflict in the east of the country. It was responsible for some of Russia’s rare victories in cities such as Soledar and Bakhmut.
However, Wagner’s future was flung into uncertainty earlier this year when Prigozhin led a failed mutiny against Russia’s military leaders and now by his death.
Prigozhin died last month and was buried in St Petersburg.
Peskov Says It’s Too Early To Comment On Prigozhin’s Death
Also on Friday, Kremlin Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov stated it would be premature to give any comments on the death of Wagner Private Military Company chief Yevgeny Prigozhin now as an investigation is still ongoing.
Peskov denied that an investigation into the causes of the crash had been too slow, claiming that it was “a complex investigation, a complex incident.”
On August 23, 2023, Prigozhin died in a suspicious airplane crash along with other Wagner figures in Russia’s western Tver region exactly two months after leading an abortive mutiny on Moscow that posed the greatest threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority in his 23 years in power.
“The circumstances are different now. In this case, there is a completely different situation involving this airplane crash.
“Since there are no conclusions from the investigators yet, I cannot word it with precision, but it is obvious that there are different lines of inquiry, with – you know what we are talking about – let’s say, a premeditated villainous act being among them.”Dmitry Peskov
According to a Russian news agency, Peskov urged the media to wait for the official findings of the current investigation being carried out by the Investigative Committee of Russia.
“The Investigative Committee is in charge. This is an entirely Russian investigation. No international aspect is on the agenda,” Peskov emphasized.