France’s parliament labels Wagner as a ‘terrorist organization’

The National Assembly of France unanimously passes a resolution labeling Russia’s paramilitary Wagner group as a terrorist organization.

The non-binding resolution, supported by all 331 lawmakers present, urges the European Union to include Wagner on its list of designated terrorist groups.

“This resolution and its European scope aim… at reinforcing legal tools against [the Wagner group]. Adding it to the EU list would affect all the stakeholders, the banks, that make its activity possible,” said Benjamin Haddad, an MP belonging to Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party and one of the authors of the text. The resolution is non-binding but sends “a political and symbolic message,” said Haddad.

“They aren’t just mercenaries, there’s a will to massacre civilians for political gain … to destabilize institutions,” Haddad told POLITICO ahead of the vote.

The Russian mercenary group, Wagner, has already faced multiple rounds of sanctions imposed by the European Union. In April 2022, the EU sanctioned Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, as part of efforts to address the conflict in Ukraine. In April of this year, Wagner was further included in a list of sanctioned entities due to their active involvement in Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine.

If Wagner were to be added to the EU’s list of recognized terrorist organizations, it would deliver another significant blow to the group. This move would strengthen the existing systematic measures against the organization, potentially leading to the prosecution of individuals associated with Wagner on terrorism charges. Such a designation would reinforce the legal framework and provide authorities with additional tools to address the activities and affiliations related to Wagner.

As per the European Council, the list currently comprises 13 individuals and 21 groups. The inclusion of individuals or entities on the list is subject to proposals from member states, which must be supported by a decision from a competent authority within the respective country or another recognized authority.

France has faced increasing pressure from the Wagner group in Africa, particularly as Paris’s influence in the region diminishes. In January, French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu highlighted that the Wagner group had identified France as its primary adversary in Africa and was actively pursuing actions that targeted French interests.

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