(CTN News) – UK Government Underestimated Wagner’s Expansion into Africa, Says Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee

The United Kingdom government has faced severe criticism from the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee for overlooking the rapid growth and threat posed by Russia’s Wagner private mercenary group.

In a recent report titled “Guns for Gold: the Wagner network exposed,” the cross-party committee accused the government of underestimating the group’s activities in Africa and imposing insufficient sanctions on affiliated entities and individuals.

UK Government’s Failure to Monitor Wagner’s Global Reach

A CNN investigation in 2022 highlighted the elaborate Russian scheme, revealing how Wagner was exploiting Sudan’s resources to strengthen Russia against Western sanctions and support Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. The report cited this investigation as evidence of a decade-long expansion of Russian interests abroad.

230412162354 pro russia china demonstration bangul march 2023

The committee expressed deep concern over the government’s limited understanding of Wagner’s influence beyond Europe, particularly its grip on African states.

According to the report, Wagner fighters have conducted offensive military operations in seven countries since 2014, including Ukraine, Syria, the Central African Republic, Libya, Mozambique, Mali, and Sudan.

Describing Wagner as operating like a criminal mafia, the committee chair, Alicia Kearns, emphasized that the group causes corruption, instability, and atrocities wherever they go. However, the UK government’s response has been criticized for focusing predominantly on Wagner’s activities in Ukraine and neglecting its global reach.

The report lamented that the government only began seriously monitoring Wagner after Russia invaded Ukraine, despite the group’s military operations in multiple countries for nearly a decade.

download 10

The UK’s efforts to sanction Wagner-linked actors were deemed underwhelming compared to actions taken by the United States and the European Union, which have sanctioned twice as many network members.

As part of its recommendations, the committee urged the UK government to designate the Wagner Network as a terrorist organization and impose stricter sanctions on its affiliates. Additionally, it called for developing a compelling security partnership alternative for priority countries to prevent Wagner from gaining influence in fragile and conflict-affected regions.

In conclusion, the report calls for the UK government to take immediate and decisive actions to counter the expanding threat of Wagner in Europe, Africa, and beyond.