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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Senators want to designate Wagner Group as terrorist organization

Feb 16, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that, if passed, would designate the Wagner Group as a foreign terrorist organization under Section 219(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The organization is known for its ruthless tactics on the battlefield, and getting the worst of the worst to fight for Russia against Ukraine, including prisoners. 

“There is no question that the Wagner Group has murdered journalists, kidnapped children and raped women, engaged in savage, barbarous conduct that gives new meaning to the word terrorists,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said.  

The Wagner Group has already been sanctioned by the secretary of state. But this bill will allow for further sanctions and punishments for the group, its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, and anyone who does business with them.

If Wagner shut down and rebranded itself to avoid punishment, the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries Act (HARM Act) would apply to any affiliated or successor entity. 

“The Wagner Group is a para-military group that employs thousands of mercenaries and has served as Putin’s private army around the world. The European Parliament did that right thing when it designate Russia as a state-sponsor of terrorism – calling out the work of the Wagner Group under that umbrella,” Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., said in a joint statement. 

Senators believe it will also help hold Russian war criminals accountable after the fighting ends.

“If we pass this designation that makes it harder for the Wagner Group to recruit, they become radioactive, more so than they are today. If you’re in their sphere of influence, you’re in a world of hurt,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said. 

The bill’s sponsors want Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote in the next couple of weeks. They think it will pass with strong bipartisan support. 

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A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill that, if passed, would designate the Wagner Group as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality act. The organization is known for its ruthless tactics on the battlefield, and getting the worst of the worst to fight for Russia against Ukraine, including prisoners. 

Blumenthal: “There is no question that the Wagner group has murdered journalists, kidnapped children and raped women, engaged in savage, barbarous conduct that gives new meaning to the word terrorists.” 

The Wagner group has already been sanctioned by the Secretary of State. But this bill will allow for further sanctions and punishments for the group, its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, and anyone who does business with them. Senators believe it will also help hold Russian war criminals accountable after the fighting ends.

Graham: “And if we pass this designation that makes it harder for the Wagner group to recruit, become radioactive, more so than they are today. If you if you’re in their sphere of influence, or in a world of hurt,”

Senators say they want Leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote in the next couple of weeks. They think it will pass with strong bipartisan support. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.