The British Home Office is drawing up plans to formally proscribe Russian mercenaries the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation, Report informs, citing The Telegraph.
The fighters have played a central role in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and are currently spearheading attempts to take the eastern town of Bakhmut.
Proscription would mean it becomes a criminal offence not just to belong to Wagner or attend its meetings but encourage support for it or carry its logo in public.
It would mean putting Wagner on the similar legal footing of notorious terror groups such as Al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks, and the jihadists Isil.
Such a step could have knock-on implications for the group’s money-raising abilities should any assets or revenue streams run through UK financial institutions.
It is understood discussions about proscription are at an early stage and are not as advanced as the planned proscription of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
That move, which The Telegraph revealed last month, has been delayed after the Foreign Office raised concerns about the impact of the intervention.
A final decision on Wagner proscription has not been taken, but Whitehall insiders predicted the green light will be achieved much quicker than the IRGC given the severity of the situation in Ukraine and the unity on the issue across Whitehall.
Proscription involves building a case, published when the announcement is revealed, for why the major legal step is necessary.
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