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The Seimas: “Russia’s private military company Wagner is a terrorist organisation”

Press release, 14 March 2023


On Tuesday, the Seimas adopted a resolution declaring that Russia’s private military company Wagner is a terrorist organisation and that its members and mercenaries pose a threat to state and public security. At the same time, the Lithuanian parliament strongly condemned the use of any mercenary groups such as the Wagner Group, established with the support of the authorities of the Russian, for the ongoing crimes of aggression in Ukraine. The Resolution was adopted unanimously by 117 votes in favour.


The Resolution notes that “since the onset of the military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation on 24 February 2022, the regular troops of the Russian Federation and the mercenaries of the Russian Federation’s private military company Wagner, being actively involved in military actions on the aggressor’s side, have committed systematic and serious crimes of aggression, such as the killing and torturing of the civilian population of Ukraine, bombardment of residential buildings and other civilian objects, which is equivalent to terrorism”.


The Resolution of the Seimas stresses that the private military company Wagner, established by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman close to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, is a shadow instrument of Russia’s power in that it receives military equipment, such as Grad multiple rocket launch systems, tanks and armoured vehicles, free of charge from the Government of the Russian Federation, makes use of Russia’s military infrastructure, and this company’s fighters are trained by the Russian Federation’s military intelligence service (GRU).


According to Laurynas Kasčiūnas, one of the initiators of this Resolution, Russia is increasingly using such companies in military conflicts, which can also be seen in Ukraine. “According to the National Threat Assessment, recently released by our Lithuanian intelligence services, such private military and security companies may be able to carry out limited operations against Lithuania, mainly related to non-kinetic actions", said the politician.


As stated by the Chair of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence, cases are recorded in Western European countries when Russia’s supposedly private military and security companies engage in the provision of self-defence combat training, first aid courses and similar services. “Russia’s intelligence uses this field of activity as one of the platforms for searching for and recruiting candidates. Although no such cases have been recorded in Lithuania, it cannot be ruled out that both Russia’s intelligence services and supposedly private military and security companies can try to act in similar ways in our country. Therefore, irresponsible involvement of citizens of the Republic of Lithuania in the activities organised by such persons or groups would create conditions for recruitment. Therefore, designation of the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation would contribute to the resilience of our society because we would send a signal not to participate in such projects,” Mr Kasčiūnas stressed the importance of the Resolution.


“It is important for us not to allow Russia to erase the line between war and peace, to impose on us an agenda of hybrid threats where, in the event of aggression, Russia would supposedly not be responsible for the operations of allegedly private military and security companies,” stressed the Chair of the Seimas Committee.


The Resolution adopted by the Seimas calls on other states to designate Russia’s private military company Wagner as a terrorist organisation. The Resolution also stresses the need for Lithuania to adopt a Law on the Prevention of Terrorism laying down specific criteria for the approval of a list of terrorist organisations by the Government of the Lithuania or an institution authorised by it and for the imposition of statutory sanctions against persons participating in activities of terrorist organisations included in the list.


“The EU and the US have sanctioned the private military company Wagner for its involvement in Russia’s war in Ukraine, also for the commission of serious crimes, including mass executions, rape, child abductions and physical abuse and other human rights violations in the Central African Republic, Sudan and Mali, while the U.S. Department of the Treasury has designated the private military company Wagner as an transnational criminal organisation and the US Senate is debating whether to designate this military company as a foreign terrorist organisation,” states the Resolution.


Prepared by

Information and Communication Department

Adviser to the Press Office

Rimas Rudaitis

Tel. +370 5 239 6132, e-mail: [email protected]

   Last updated on 03/15/2023 15:58
   Monika Kutkaitytė