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National Security Sanctions Ukraine War

Wagner Group Facing UK Lawsuit As U.S. Considers Whether To Designate It As A Foreign Terrorist Organisation

A BRITISH law firm is launching a crowd fund to mount a legal case which could see billions of dollars seized from the Russian mercenary Wagner Group and redistributed to victims of the Ukraine War.

McCue Jury & Partners, who have offices in London and Bristol, will argue Wagner and its co-founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, “engaged in an unlawful means conspiracy to deploy terrorism to facilitate their illegal invasion of Ukraine”.

According to a statement on the firm’s website, it served a letter before action on Prigozhin on November 1, 2022, “both in a personal capacity and as head of Wagner Group, putting him on notice of a pending claim for damages for Wagner Group’s role in terrorising Ukrainian civilians during the ongoing conflict”

The Class suit is being brought by a number of Ukrainian victims of Wagner now residing in the UK but also “symbolically represents” all Ukrainians who have “suffered loss as a result of the war.”

Jason McCue, partner at McCue Jury & Partners, alongside Ukrainian MP Fedir Venislavsky
and other officials (Photo: Supplied)

The legal firm appeared alongside Ukrainian MP Fedir Venislavsky at a press conference in Kyiv, where the Ukrainian politician promised his parliament would “provide all necessary information” about the group’s atrocities since the start of the war.

Mr Venislavsky added: “We know why they died under what circumstances, when they died, and we will provide all that information to be used in future court proceedings against the terrorist associated with the state of [the] Russian Federation.”

In the 286 days of Russia’s invasion, he said, Putin’s war machine had destroyed 38,000 homes, 2,719 educational facilities, and more than 1,250 medical facilities.

Jason McCue, a founding partner in the firm, told the conference the case, which would be heard at the High Court in London would “prove to the world that Wagner are terrorists.” And also that “Putin conspired with them to commit acts of terrorism. The world will know that Wagner is a terrorist gun for hire and that Putin is in the business of paying for terrorism”.

“Ukraine getting the justice it deserves is in the balance. Peace without justice is unsustainable and justice means reparations, full reparation,” Mr McCue added.

Prigozhin used to be Putin’s chef, and is now one of his closest aides

The case comes as U.S. President Joe Biden is reported to be considering whether to designate Wagner as a foreign terrorist organisation.

The group is already sanctioned by the US, but the Biden administration has its sights on labelling it a terrorist organization amid pressure – both from the Ukrainians and from Congress – to declare Russia as a state sponsor of terror due to the invasion of Ukraine and the constant attacks on the civilian population.

American senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss, and Ben Cardin, have ramped up the pressure on the Biden administration to act against the mercenary group by introducing a the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries (HARM) Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the Secretary of State to designate the Russian-based PMC Wagner Group as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). A companion measure led by U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Joe Wilson, R-S.C., Richard Hudson, R-N.C., and Marc Veasey, D-Texas, will also be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Credit: McCue Jury & Partners,

“Vladimir Putin and his cronies will stop at nothing to accomplish their objectives, including employing mercenaries like the Wagner Group to commit atrocities on their behalf,” Senator Wicker said. “The U.S. should call this shadow army what it is: a foreign terrorist group. We must hold them accountable along with any who support them.

“As Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine enters its ninth month, the United States must continue to remove the tools of destruction at its disposal,” said Senator Cardinchairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. “The Wagner Group has been credibly linked to countless atrocities in Ukraine as well as Syria and across the African continent. The U.S. must immediately designate the Wagner Group as a foreign terrorist organization. Doing so will diminish the strength of the Russian armed forces and help hold human rights violators accountable.”

“Where the Wagner Group operates, atrocities follow. The HARM Act will identify Putin’s private mercenary group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and let the world know that its activities are both malign and illegal. It’s time to shine some light on this notorious group and give it the detestable reputation it deserves,” said Congressman Steve Cohenco-chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

“For too long the Wagner Group has been engaging in nefarious atrocities around the globe, all at the behest of war criminal Putin and his cronies. I’m grateful to join my bipartisan, bicameral colleagues in introducing legislation that will finally designate the group as the foreign terrorist organization it is and expose them in their true state as a murderous and criminal enterprise,” said Congressman Joe Wilson.

“The Wagner Group is a threat to the interests and security of the United States, our allies, and its partners,” said Representative Richard Hudson. “We must hold those responsible for perpetrating Putin’s war against Ukraine and atrocities elsewhere accountable. Designating this mercenary group a Foreign Terrorist Organization will send a strong message to those in Russia and all who seek to do harm across the world.”