The human rights violations by private military and security companies, particularly the Wagner Group
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The human rights violations by private military and security companies, particularly the Wagner Group

The European Parliament has expressed its gravest concern about the wide range of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that continue to be reported in relation to the ever-increasing activities of private military and security companies and for which, for the most part, no one has yet been held to account.

I condemn in the strongest terms the heinous crimes committed by the Wagner Group and related private military entities. There are strong indications that the Russian State bears responsibility for the funding, training, management and operational command of those paramilitary groups. The European Parliament underscores that the Wagner Group’s activities coincide and correspond with the spread of Russia’s influence in conflict zones, and expresses its firm conviction that the Wagner Group, and other Russian-led security contractors, should be treated as proxy organisations of the Russian State. The Russian authorities must enforce the Russian Criminal Code, notably Article 359 prohibiting the recruitment, training, financing or material provision of mercenaries and their use in an armed conflict.

I call on the Russian authorities to also ban state-run enterprises from having private military companies engaging in mercenary activities that are in breach of international humanitarian law. The EEAS ought to prepare a report on the activities of the Wagner Group to gain a clear overview of their various violations, which would then help to ensure accountability for their various crimes and pave the way to prosecute these perpetrators in front of international tribunals.