The United Kingdom and France are about to label the Wagner Group’s mercenaries terrorists

The United Kingdom is about to designate as a terrorist organization the Wagner Group, a private militia of Russian fighters which, according to the United States, consists of some 50,000 men, Many of them are conscripted in prisons, and their role in recent months has focused on seizing power in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in the Donbass region.

The group, named in honor of Wilhelm Richard WagnerAdolf Hitler’s favorite musician Yevgeny Prigozhin, 61, has been on close terms with the Kremlin for many years, but the invasion of Ukraine strained the relationship between Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, this week, the so-called “Putin’s chef” accused the soldiers of the Moscow army of fleeing from their positions in Bakhmut and accused the Russian state of being unable to defend its country and not providing it with sufficient weapons. his men. Ukrainian authorities claim that approx 30 thousand Wagner fighters have been killed, injured or abandoned in recent months.

A government source confirmed to The Times that after two months of studying the legal aspects of the case, the group’s new designation as a terrorist was “imminent,” meaning that within weeks of belonging to the paramilitary group, promoting its support or wearing its emblem in public could be considered illegal. in the state.

In addition, it could also translate into financial penalties and an inability to seek recourse to British justice to denounce journalists whose activities they cover. However, the designation at the moment appears to be symbolic, as there is no evidence that the group operated in any way on British soil, although a government source confirmed that there were “suspicions” that it helped launder money outside the UK. The UK joined other criminal organizations after financial sanctions were imposed on Russian oligarchs and allies of Putin following the invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

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France also invites her into the European Union

After the British newspaper was exposed, it was learned that the French Parliament had also asked the European Union to officially classify the mercenary group as terrorists. Thus, Parliament unanimously approved a non-binding resolution aimed at encouraging the 27 members of the European Union to include Wagner in the official list of organizations of this kind. “Wherever they work, Wagner members spread instability and violence,” MP Benjamin Haddad said in parliament on Tuesday, adding that they “kill and torture. They slaughter and pillage. They terrorize and manipulate with almost complete impunity.” For Haddad, the group’s members are not just mercenaries motivated by “a desire for money,” but rather “pursuing a broad strategy, from Mali to Ukraine, to support the aggressive policies of President Putin’s regime toward our democracies.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the French Parliament for this initiative and urged other countries to follow suit, advocating that “every manifestation of terrorism must be eliminated and every terrorist must be condemned”.

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