The United Kingdom (UK) on Friday proscribed the Russian mercenary Wagner Group, which rallied at Moscow before withdrawing, as a terrorist organisation.
The move comes after the UK announced to do so last week, which will make it illegal to be a member or to support the Wagner Group.
According to the Home Office draft order, Wagner’s assets can be categorised as terrorist property and seized.
“Wagner is a violent and destructive organisation which has acted as a military tool of [President] Vladimir Putin’s Russia overseas,” UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman said earlier.
“While Putin’s regime decides what to do with the monster it created, Wagner’s continuing destabilising activities only continue to serve the Kremlin’s political goals. They are terrorists, plain and simple – and this prescription order makes that clear in UK law,” she added.
The Indian-origin Home Secretary claimed that Wagner had been involved in “looting, torture and barbarous murders”.
“Its operations in Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa are a threat to global security. That is why we are proscribing this terrorist organisation and continuing to aid Ukraine wherever we can in its fight against Russia,” she added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously called for the Wagner Group to be treated as a terrorist organisation.
The mercenary group, which was led by Yevgeny Prigozhin until he was killed in a plane crash last month, has played a prominent role in the Russian conflict with Ukraine. It is also known to be active in conflicts in other war-torn regions of Syria and Africa.
The crash that killed Prigozhin occurred just months after he mounted an attempted coup against Russia’s military leadership, ultimately calling into question Putin’s authority as Russian President.
The UK Home Office said it considered the nature and scale of the organisation’s activities as well as the threat they pose to British nationals abroad in deciding on the proscription order.