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The French Parliament officially classifies Wagner as a “terrorist group”

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

The resolution, while non-binding, urges the European Union to include Wagner in 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 has already faced multiple rounds of sanctions imposed by the European Union. In April 2022, the EU sanctioned Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, as an individual involved in the conflict in Ukraine. Furthermore, in April of this year, Wagner was added to a list of sanctioned entities due to its active involvement in Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine.

Including Wagner on the EU’s list of recognized terrorist organizations would deliver yet another significant blow to the group. According to Haddad, this designation would strengthen the implementation of “systematic tools” against the organization, enabling the prosecution of anyone associated with Wagner on terrorism charges.

The European Council’s list currently includes 13 individuals and 21 groups. Member states can propose additions to the list, but these proposals must be supported by a decision from a competent authority within that country or another.

France has faced increasing pressure from the Wagner group in Africa, where its influence has been diminishing. French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu stated in January that the Wagner group had designated France as its primary adversary in Africa and was actively targeting French interests.

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