US lawmakers want terrorist designation for Russia's Wagner Group

A group of Democratic and Republican senators said on Wednesday they would try again to pass legislation that would require the State Department to designate Russian mercenary company Wagner Group as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).

Led by Democrat Ben Cardin and Republican Roger Wicker, the senators said they had reintroduced the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries (HARM) act - which was introduced but not passed before the end of the previous Congress - seeking to hold Wagner accountable for human rights violations by adding it to the FTO blacklist.

Cardin and Wicker are co-chairs of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, a government agency that promotes human rights.

Washington has been targeting Wagner for some time.

The Treasury Department last month designated Wagner, which is fighting on the Russian side in some of the most intense battles of the Ukraine war, as a transnational criminal organization responsible for widespread human rights abuses.

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