A bipartisan pair of senators urged President Trump to crack down on a Russian private military organization they say is a threat to U.S. national security.
Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Chris Coons of Delaware have introduced a resolution calling on Trump to develop a plan to combat the Wagner Group, an organization of Russian mercenaries, likely owned by oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, which has been involved in conflict zones all over the world.
“When Russian national Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Wagner group, and other affiliated entities meddle in foreign elections and send mercenaries to fight in proxy wars overseas, they pose a threat to international stability. These actors have led subversive campaigns across the world, and the United States must respond,” Coons argued.
The Wagner Group first appeared in 2014, assisting in the Russian invasion of Crimea, Ukraine. While the Russian government denies involvement with the mercenaries, mounting evidence shows otherwise.
Nathaniel Reynolds, a senior analyst for the State Department on Russian politics, writes, “Wagner cannot exist without Putin’s blessing, and Prigozhin probably needs the Kremlin’s approval for strategic-level decisions, like where and when Wagner is deployed.”
Prigozhin was indicted by the Justice Department back in 2018 after being identified as the financial backer of the Internet Research Agency for allegedly taking part in what the department called “information warfare against the United States” during the 2016 election.
The resolution concluded, “The activities of Russian national Yevgeniy Prigozhin, his affiliated entities, and the Wagner Group pose a threat to the national interests and national security of the United States; and the President, in addition to maintaining sanctions on Yevgeniy Prigozhin, his affiliated entities, and the Wagner Group, should work with Congress to develop and execute a strategy drawing on the multiple instruments of United States national power available to the President, to counter the malign influence and activities of Prigozhin, the entities linked to him, and the Wagner Group.”