Russia’s Wagner Group is ‘officially labeled a terrorist organization’ | world news
Britain is believed to want to turn the Russian mercenary group Wagner into a banned terrorist organization.
A government source said the move is “imminent” and likely to come into effect within weeks of two months of preparing a legal case, according to The Times.
A ban would make it a criminal offense to associate with Wagner, promote his support, publicly display his logo, or attend his meetings.
Other organizations on the government’s banned list include Islamic State, al-Qaeda and the neo-Nazi group National Action.
Labor has urged ministers to officially designate the Wagner Group as a terrorist group after accusing it of committing “appalling atrocities”.
The Wagner Group, led by warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin, consisting of contractors and convict conscripts, fights alongside Russian forces in areas of eastern Ukraine.
It was heavily involved with the city of Bakhmut, where the longest – and probably bloodiest – battle of the war took place.
Early on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin used the Victory Day Parade in Moscow to accuse the West of unleashing a “real war” against the country with its “untamed ambitions”.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State James Cleverly said international allies must continue to support Ukraine to uphold the principle that “powerful nations cannot raid their neighbors with impunity.”
Visiting the US, Mr Cleverly said: “Things are complicated, things are messy, things are difficult, things get scary.”
“We will expect to hear escalating words from Vladimir Putin’s mouth – we must be prepared for this, we must have the determination to continue to do the right thing despite these comments.”
Labor said in February it wanted ministers to follow the US lead after Washington labeled Wagner a “major transnational criminal organization”.
In a joint statement, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The Wagner Group is responsible for the appalling atrocities in Ukraine and around the world.”
“Nobody in the UK should be allowed to belong to, support or promote the Wagner Group.”
The push to ban Wagner came after a government agency reportedly helped its millionaire Mr Prigozhin bypass UK sanctions and take a British journalist to court in 2021.
The Treasury ordered an internal review of its processes after it was revealed that lawyers had been licensed to assist Mr Prigozhin in taking legal action against a Bellingcat reporter in the UK amid sanctions being imposed on the Russian oligarch.
As a result of the review, the ministry said the government was committed to “further targeted changes to the procedure for issuing attorney fee licenses to protect the sanctions regime from risks of manipulation and to ensure ministers are accountable for the implementation of OFSI’s Office of Financial Sanctions”) . Decision making’.
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