FRANCE: The European Union were summoned by the French parliament and stood resolute on the grounds of formally naming the Wagner force of the Russian mercenary as a “terror group”, according to the reports that showed the UK inclined to name the group as a “terror organisation.”
The group has also been accused by French authorities of conducting anti-French propaganda efforts in Mali and other parts of West Africa. The non-binding and mostly symbolic resolution was unanimously supported by lawmakers from all political groups and passed the French parliament on Tuesday.
Even though the French resolution calling for the EU to label Wagner a “terrorist organisation” would enable EU members to freeze the possessions of the group and its members and restrict European companies and citizens from transacting with the organisation, current sanctions do not appear to have impaired the group’s operations.
The French legislator Benjamin Haddad mentioned to the parliament, “Wagner members bring insecurity and violence wherever they work. They murder and torment. They massacre and loot. They bully and manipulate with near-complete impunity.”
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, recognised the French parliament in a video message encouraging other countries to follow their example.
Zelenskyy said, “Special thanks to the French parliament for recognising the Russian pseudo-private Wagner group as a terrorist outfit today.”
The months-long Russian attack on Bakhmut in Ukraine’s industrial Donbas area has been led by Wagner mercenaries. Zelenskyy, expressed gratitude to the French legislature and urged other nations to do the same.
The EU has commonly sanctioned Wagner and its businessman boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, including for their roles in the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and for infringing human rights in Africa.
The EU’s designation of the group as a terrorist organisation would not legally have any “direct supplemental effect” on it, the French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said to MPs on Tuesday.
However, she added, “We shouldn’t undervalue the symbolic significance of such a designation or the potential for it to deter states from turning to Wagner.”