Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group has been banned in the UK as a terrorist organisation, the British government said in a statement on Friday.
The decision makes serving in Wagner’s ranks or actively supporting the paramilitary group a criminal offence punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Wagner is the 79th grouping to be named a terrorist organisation in the UK, joining the likes of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.
The Financial Times reported in late August that London was planning to ban the Wagner Group within the next few weeks. The newspaper said that the British government had come in for criticism for its failure to adequately counter the paramilitary group’s growing influence.
In light of comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in July confirming that Wagner was fully funded by the Russian government, the British government reportedly decided to delay the terror designation over fears that designating a Russian government agency a terrorist organisation would have multiple legal and diplomatic ramifications.