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UK Government Designates Wagner Group as a Banned Terrorist Organization

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the British government will designate the Russian mercenary group Wagner as a terrorist organization.

A draft order will be presented to Parliament on Wednesday. While some questioned the delay in banning Wagner, Shapps, who recently assumed the role from Ben Wallace, defended the timing, citing the need to declassify information for court proceedings following the terrorist designation. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder and leader of Wagner, died in a suspicious plane crash last month.

Wagner has played a significant role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine since February 2022, allegedly committing numerous atrocities in the occupied territories.

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Defending the delay, Shapps explained on Times Radio that the democratic system requires the declassification of information to strengthen the case against Wagner in court. He added, “There is a process you have to follow to do those things.”
Once Parliament passes the order, membership in and financial support of the Wagner Group will become illegal. Violators may face up to 14 years in prison. The order will also allow for the categorization of Wagner’s assets as terrorist property and their seizure.

Speaking to LBC, Shapps stated, “Essentially it means that you can no longer or will no longer be able to be a part of that group in the UK because they will be deemed as a terrorist organization so you wouldn’t be able to belong to it, you wouldn’t be able to use their insignias or logos.”

Shapps: Wagner has had ‘Devastating Impact’

“We’ve seen how Wagner operates. Obviously, we’ve seen the devastating impact they’ve had or tried to have in Ukraine, but they also operate in Africa or across the Sahel.

“And we do not want to see that organisation here. Prescribing them means that becomes illegal once Parliament passes it,” Mr. Shapps added.

Wagner has been heavily involved in the fighting in Sudan—which broke out in April—and has backed Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces against the Sudanese regular army.
It is also present in the Central African Republic—which has been riven by ethnic and religious civil war—and has emerged as a key player in Niger, where a coup last month deposed the pro-French leader, President Mohamed Barzoum.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman described Wagner as a “violent and destructive organisation” and highlighted its “continuing destabilizing activities” aligning with the Kremlin’s political goals.

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