The Wagner mercenary group will be declared a terrorist organisation, the Home Office has announced.
A draft order will be laid in parliament on Wednesday, which will make it illegal to be a member of or support the Russian group in the UK. The group has played a prominent role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine since it began in February 2022.
It has also been active in conflicts in Syria, Central African Republic, Sudan and Libya.
The Home Office said the decision had been taken to proscribe the group under the Terrorism Act 2000 due to “the nature and scale of the organisation’s activities as well as the threat they pose to British nationals abroad”.
Suella Braverman, the home secretary, said: “Wagner is a violent and destructive organisation which has acted as a military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia overseas.
“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 proscription order makes that clear in UK law. Wagner has 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.”
It comes after the Wagner chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was killed in a plane crash last month.
The crash occurred exactly two months after Prigozhin mounted a short-lived armed rebellion against Russia’s military leadership, posing the biggest challenge to Vladimir Putin’s authority in his 23-year rule.