Grant Shapps calls Russian mercenary group ‘absolutely ruthless’
Britain’s newly appointed defense secretary said on Wednesday he is “pleased” as Russian mercenary group Wagner is being proscribed today.
Grant Shapps, who took over the post from Ben Wallace last week, said: “When you see the way that they behave, not just in Ukraine, but in other domains like Africa, it’s quite clear that they are absolutely ruthless.”
“I’m pleased that the Home Secretary (Suella Braverman) is proscribing them today,” Shapps added, speaking to Sky News.
Local media reports Tuesday evening suggested that the Wagner Group is set to be added to a list of proscribed organizations in the UK as Braverman is expected to make the decision on Wednesday. The current list contains terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda, Daesh/ISIS, and the PKK.
Asked whether the group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin who died in a plane crash in Russia was a “legitimate target” as Britain is now set to outlaw the organization, Shapps said he would “refrain from commenting on that specifically.”
He added: “Just to be clear, when we proscribe a group that’s about people in this country being members of displaying the logo and being actively involved in a group. It’s not about our target lists.”
The British government is set to declare the Russian mercenary group Wagner a “terrorist organization.”
Suella Braverman was reported by local news outlets as having said that Wagner was “violent and destructive.”
“Wagner’s continuing destabilizing 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,” she added.
The Wagner Group was founded in 2014 by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a plane crash on Aug. 23.