The Russian mercenary group Wagner will be considered a terrorist organization by the British government and it will be a criminal offense to join or support Wagner, the British Home Office announced in a statement.
"Wagner is a military tool of Putin's Russia. Its activities in Africa and Ukraine are a threat to global security. The group's destabilizing activities serve only the Kremlin's political interests," the statement said.
"The British government will recognize Wagner as a terrorist organization. With the expected decision, it will also be a criminal offense to attend and support Wagner and its meetings, as well as to carry emblems, logos, and flags representing Wagner in public places," it added.
The final announcement on the declaration of Wagner as a terrorist organization is expected tomorrow. After the law is passed by the Parliament, those who help the company can be imprisoned for up to 14 years or fined up to 5 thousand pounds.
The main opposition Labour Party in the UK has been demanding that Wagner be declared a terrorist organization for some time. The Foreign Ministry had imposed various sanctions against Wagner and decided to freeze the assets of company executives.
Wagner played critical roles in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as well as in Syria and African countries such as Libya and Mali. Wagner soldiers have been accused of murder and torture. In 2020, the United States (US) announced that Wagner had laid mines around the Libyan capital Tripoli. In July, the UK stated that Wagner was responsible for torture and executions in Mali and the Central African Republic.The future of the group was uncertain after their failed rebellion against Russia this summer. The company's founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, died under suspicious circumstances when the plane he was on crashed on August 23.