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Amid reporting that Vladimir Putin has hired hundreds of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and several of his colleagues in calling on the Biden administration to investigate and sanction the Wagner Group and its affiliates.

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In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the lawmakers urge the departments to immediately take steps to punish these private actors and hold them accountable.

“We write today to express our concern regarding recent reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has hired hundreds of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We ask for immediate action to be taken to investigate these reports and to impose economic sanctions through the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) pursuant to Executive Order 14024 on the Wagner Group, including Yevgeny Prigozhin, Dmitry Utkin, and Konstantin Pikalov, as well as any other known affiliates,” the lawmakers wrote.

“According to the reports, the Wagner Group entered Ukraine at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin with the goal to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to undermine the peace, security, political stability, and territorial integrity of Ukraine as part of the Russian invasion. We owe it to our allies to punish private actors to the greatest extent possible that directly participate in Russia’s warmongering in Ukraine and we urge you to take all necessary measures to hold them accountable,” the lawmakers concluded.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) joined Grassley and Ernst on the letter.

Read the full letter by clicking HERE.

This week, Grassley has pushed to ban any further imports of Russian oil; helped introduce the American Energy Independence Act of 2022, which seeks to return American energy to full production; introduced separate legislation to sanction all Russian state-owned enterprises; called on Russia to be removed from the United Nations Security Council; and urged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to block Russian access to any additional financing through the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Author: Press Release

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