UK parliamentary report slams government for underestimating Wagner Group

UK parliamentary report slams government for underestimating Wagner Group

Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee urges government to 'move faster and harder to sanction' Wagner-linked actors

By Mehmet Solmaz

BIRMINGHAM, England (AA) —The UK Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee published a report on Wednesday, in which the UK government has been heavily criticized for underestimating the growth of the Russian paramilitary organization known as Wagner Group, despite posing a “major threat” to the country’s interests.

The US and European Union member states have sanctioned roughly twice as many individuals linked to the mercenary group than Britain, said a cross-party committee of British lawmakers.

The committee accused the government of viewing Wagner in overwhelmingly European terms, miscalculating its “activities in Africa,” and imposing inadequate sanctions on entities and individuals linked to the group.

“We are deeply concerned by the government’s dismal lack of understanding of Wagner’s hold beyond Europe, particularly their grip on African states,” says the committee’s chair, Alicia Kearns.

The report claimed that the network’s military operations spread across Ukraine, Syria, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya, Mozambique, and Mali, “with medium or high confidence that the network has been involved in a non-military capacity in 10 further countries since 2014.”

“So long as the Wagner Network survives in some form, we believe that countries may still, despite an apparent failure of Wagner to deliver on their commitments, turn to the network for security reasons, despite the high price: atrocities, corruption, and the plunder of natural resources,” the report said.

Touching upon the Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s march on Moscow, the report said the developments left significant questions over the future of the network and its founder.

“The UK government should seize this opportunity to deter countries and individuals from engaging with the Wagner Network, and to marshal government efforts to monitor and assess the ambitions and impacts of Private Military Companies (PMCs).”

The committee praised the government’s efforts to counter the Wagner Group by providing military support to Ukraine but added that it is a significant failure to see the group primarily through the prism of Europe.

“The government’s failure to address the Wagner Network leads us to conclude a fundamental lack of knowledge of, and policy on, other malign PMCs.”

In its recommendations, the parliamentarians advised the government to “improve its intelligence and analysis” on the group and “move faster and harder to sanction” Wagner-linked actors.

The committee also demanded the Wagner Network be proscribed as a terrorist organization.

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