France, UK Call for Ban and Declaring Wagner Group a “Terrorist Organization”

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Britain and France are about to formally outlaw the Russian Wagner company mercenary group “as a terrorist organization”to increase pressure on President Vladimir Putin and Russia.

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Wagner, known as a private military company, It’s a group of mercenaries accused of human rights violations, which gained international attention after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. It is run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ex-convict and former Panchos salesman, known as “Putin’s chef” .

The group played a central role in President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Wagner group members and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, in Ukraine.  Photo: AP

Wagner group members and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, in Ukraine. Photo: AP

He is leading attempts to take the eastern city of Bakhmut, which has become the focus of the war for both sides.

But, at the same time, he threatens the Kremlin to withdraw from Bakhmut, the front line in Ukraine, if they don’t give you ammo. A gesture that is seen as a fracture in the power structure surrounding Putin.

Recruitment in prisons and in Libya

Prigozin recruit in Russia and abroad. Given the number of victims on the fighting front, he resorts to recruitment in Russian prisons, where he promises freedom to those sentenced to life imprisonment if they survive the war.

He had privileged access to Putin, who seems to have lost him. But he’s still part of Russia’s takeover strategy reserves of gold, diamonds, oil in Mozambique, Sudan, Congo and Libya.

His mercenaries train forces fighting today in the civil war in Sudan, where a gold deposit in Darfur fuels Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Mozambique government hired him to fight ISIS and defend their gas facilities. He has deployed French military forces in Mali and they are already there atrocity allegations committed by them against the civilian population.

He used British justice

Prigozhin, 61, was able to use the British courts to bring a libel case against Eliot Higgins, a British journalistafter the revelations of his website bellcat on the group’s shadow operations.

The case collapsed in March last year after the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the personal sanctions imposed on Prigozhin. But government sources said it was an example of how the ban could help impede Wagner’s influence and operations in the UK.

A government source said after two months of building a legal case, the group’s ban was “imminent”. It will probably be enacted in a few weeks.

Like Al Qaeda or ISIS

Yevgeny Prigozhin shows the bodies of mercenaries killed due to lack of ammunition in Ukraine.  Photo: AFP

Yevgeny Prigozhin shows the bodies of mercenaries killed due to lack of ammunition in Ukraine. Photo: AFP

The ban would criminal offense “belonging to Wagnerattend its meetings, build support for it, or wear its logo in public,” putting it on an equal footing with groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.

It would also impose financial penalties, which would be significant because the group and all of its members would be barred from going to UK courts to do so silence journalists and activists and the inability to raise funds, which could pass for British institutions.

For many years Wagner was closely linked to the Kremlin, but the invasion of Ukraine has strained relations between Prigozhin and Putin.

in an attack full of curses last weekPrigozhin claimed that the “junk” Russian generals were responsible for the deaths of Wagner’s fighters, as he accused them of depriving them of ammunition in the nine-month battle for Bakhmut.

In addition to the war in Ukraine, the group has been involved in numerous conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, fighting for control of gold mines in the Central African Republic and helping to support President Assad’s regime in Syria, particularly in Palmyra, in the his war against ISIS.

Money laundry?

There is no evidence that Wagner or anyone related to the group has been operating in the UK since the start of the war in Ukraine.

The ban is largely seen as a symbolic move. However, a government source said there were “suspects” that the group had helped “launder money outside the UK”, “alongside organized crime groups”, after being forced to sfinancial sanctions against Russian oligarchs and Putin’s allies in the aftermath of the war.

To outlaw the group, the UK Home Office would need to build a case as to why legal passage was requested, which could include references to classified intelligence.

David Lammy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, said: “It is fitting that the Government finally appear to be listening to the Labor Party’s calls for it to be banned as a terrorist organisation”.

France asks to include it in the list of terrorist organizations of the EU

France is ready to adopt the same attitude. On Tuesday, a motion for a resolution by the representative of the Renaissance, Conservative MP Benjamin Haddad, was approved for the inclusion of the Russian group Wagner “in the list of terrorist organizations of the European Union”.

On Tuesday, the National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the inclusion of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, accused of abuses in Ukraine and Africa, in the list of terrorist organizations of the European Union.

The non-binding text invites the French government to “mobilize diplomatically” so that the EU accedes to this requestwhich allows him to more effectively punish members of Wagner and his followers, especially financially.

The motion for a resolution referred to “many atrocities against the civilian population” committed in Ukraine by this group, some of which could be described as “war crimes”.

“It’s about sending a political, symbolic message. A sign of denunciation of Wagner and his activities, which deliberately target civilians for political purposes, such as terrorism,” argued the author of the text, Benjamín Hadad.

The Lithuanian parliament already adopted a resolution on Tuesday stating that “Wagner is a terrorist organization”.


Source: Clarin

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