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Lithuanian parliament recognizes Wagner Group as terrorist organization

by The Kyiv Independent news deskMarch 14, 2023 3:01 pm

The Seimas of Lithuania approved a resolution recognizing the Russian state-backed mercenary group Wagner as a terrorist organization on March 14, the Baltic News Service reported.

The resolution states that Wagner is a terrorist organization, with their members posing a threat to the security of the Lithuanian state and society.

Some 117 members of the parliament voted in favor of the resolution.

“Since the beginning of the (full-scale) military invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, servicemen of the Russian Federation and mercenaries of the private military company Wagner, which takes an active part in hostilities on the side of the aggressor, have been committing serious systematic crimes of aggression killing and torturing the civilian population of Ukraine, bombing residential buildings and other civilian objects, which equates to terrorism,” the document reads.

The Lithuanian parliament strongly condemned the use of any mercenary groups, such as Wagner, created with the support of the Russian authorities, to commit crimes of aggression in Ukraine.

The resolution also called on other countries to join them in recognizing Wagner as a terrorist organization.

Wagner Group forces have been fighting in the east of Ukraine alongside the Russian regular army. Russia's assault on Bakhmut relies heavily on Wagner members, which have taken control of most of the eastern part of Bakhmut, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry's daily intelligence update published on March 11.

Wagner has been accused of human rights abuses in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Mozambique, including torture and extrajudicial killings.

Earlier on Feb. 6, the Ukrainian parliament recognized Wagner as an international criminal organization and called on foreign governments to do the same. 

The U.S. Treasury Department designated Wagner Group mercenaries as a “significant transnational criminal organization” and imposed sanctions on its support network worldwide on Jan. 26.

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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