U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., on December 1 introduced 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).
The senators’ legislation would require the Secretary of State to designate the Wagner Group as a FTO under section 219(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act within 90 days of enactment. The proposal also includes provisions that would apply the FTO designation to any affiliated or successor entity to the PMC Wagner Group.
According to the statement, a companion measure led by U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen, Joe Wilson, Richard Hudson, and Marc Veasey will also be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“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. 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,” Senator Wicker said.
According to Senator Cardin, 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,” he said.