On Tuesday, by a unanimous vote of all present, the French parliament passed a resolution formally asking the European Union to declare the Wagner group a terrorist organization.
The Wagner group is a company of mercenaries affiliated with the Russian government active in various countries of the world, including Ukraine, and accused by international organizations of war crimes and the use of torture systems: in several countries it is discussed the possibility of formally declaring it a terrorist organization (for now Estonia and Lithuania have done so).
The resolution voted by France is not limited to its national borders, but concerns the whole European Union, which is asked to adopt a series of instruments, including legal ones, to counter the activity of the Wagner group. In particular, economic sanctions to banks, companies and people who may finance its activities, as well as to the individuals who manage the organization.
France has a particular interest in declaring the Wagner group a terrorist organization mainly due to the influence that Russian mercenaries are gaining in Africa, where France is active with a series of military missions of training and assisting local forces to counter terrorism jihadist. In Mali, the growing influence of the Wagner group – parallel to Mali’s progressive rapprochement with Russia – greatly hindered the activities of the French army, which found itself being partly replaced by mercenaries, ultimately leading to the end of the collaboration between Mali and France and the definitive withdrawal of French soldiers from the area.
Last January French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu He said that the Wagner group “has made France its enemy number one in Africa”, targeting its presence on the continent. In the resolution approved on Tuesday by the French parliament, it is done explicitly reference also to the activities of the Wagner group in Africa, accusing it of carrying out “operations of influence and disinformation” on the territory “through front companies” to “destabilize the African authorities” and fuel anti-French sentiments.
The resolution was tabled by the centre-right Mouvement démocratee da Renaissance, the center party of President Emmanuel Macron, with the support of a number of other parties, both right-wing and otherwise. It was voted in favor by all 331 deputies present in the chamber (out of 577). Always Tuesday the times he wrote quoting government sources that even the UK may declare the Wagner group a terrorist organization.