Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The United States is considering labelling Russia's Wagner Group mercenaries as terrorists

US is weighing a terrorism label for Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries


WASHINGTON:Two people familiar with the situation stated that the Biden administration is considering whether to classify Russia's Wagner Group as a foreign terrorist organization in an effort to limit the privately held military company's involvement in Ukraine and its expanding presence in Africa.

The individuals, who requested anonymity to discuss private deliberations, stated that the administration has not made a final decision regarding the designation.Marking Wagner an unfamiliar psychological oppressor association would permit the US to seek after criminal indictment against the gathering and its individuals, as well as pursue its resources all over the planet.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, when its mercenaries played a major role in the fighting, the move against Wagner would mark a new US effort to counter a group that has gained prominence and power worldwide.Yevgeny Prigozhin, the group's leader, is regarded as a significant ally and supporter of President Vladimir Putin and his war effort in Ukraine.Because his catering company hosted dinners attended by the Russian president, he is referred to as "Putin's chef."On condition of anonymity, a spokesperson for the State Department said that while the United States would continue to hold those accountable for Russia's war, they would not confirm discussions about Wagner.Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov didn't return a message looking for input.In the past, the government of Russia has denied any official connection to Wagner.

Even though the group has only increased in size and influence, Prigozhin and Wagner have already received approval from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

In September, Prigozhin made his first admission that he had started the group and that it had been active in Africa, Latin America, Syria, and other Arab countries."One of the pillars of our homeland," he said of it.

The group's involvement in Ukraine has been highlighted on Russian state television.In September, a video of a man with a strong resemblance to Prigozhin offering prisoners who survive a six-month stint fighting at the front in Ukraine an early release was released.

Western authorities have additionally developed progressively frightened by Wagner's presence in pieces of Africa.In March, the United Nations announced that it was looking into Wagner mercenaries' violations of human rights in Mali. The deployment of the mercenaries in the West African nation prompted France and its allies to withdraw their forces.

The White House may be able to deflect pressure from some lawmakers in the United States who have asked the Biden administration to list Putin's government as a state sponsor of terrorism by issuing sanctions against the Wagner Group.A non-binding resolution urging Biden to do so was approved by the Senate in July by unanimous consent.US authorities have contended that ongoing approvals as of now accomplish a similar outcome and an assignment could have potentially negative side-effects like obstructing helpful exchanges with Russia.

In a June article, two former officials from the Central Intelligence Agency advocated for Wagner's designation as a foreign terrorist organization, stating that doing so "would bring a critical component of US criminal law into play."

James Patrila and Phil Wasielewski wrote on the blog Lawfare that "this is an important and necessary step toward ending Wagner Group's utility to the Kremlin and, therefore, its existence."

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