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Expressing Sense of Congress That Yevgeniy Prigozhin and His Affiliated Entities Pose A Threat to Interests and Security of the United States

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 3, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, Yevgeniy Prigozhin is one of the most destructive operators within Vladimir Putin's corrupt regime. The destabilizing activity that he has directed and financed can be felt throughout the world.

Mr. Prigozhin bankrolls the Russian Wagner Group, whose mercenaries have fanned the deadly flames of conflicts, propped up dictatorships, committed gruesome human rights abuses, all at the Kremlin's direction.

In Ukraine, the Wagner Group supported Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and the pro-Russian separatists in the country's east. They have provided military support to the murderous Bashar al-Assad regime, and they even led an assault against U.S. troops in Syria in 2018.

In Libya, Russia has jeopardized efforts to bring peace to the country by supporting Haftar, as well as by sending advanced Russian aircraft and thousands of mercenaries from the Wagner Group into the country.

The Wagner Group is also actively meddling in the domestic politics of numerous African countries. There, they hope to expand Russian influence on the continent while also exploiting Africa's natural resources for their own profit.

The United States is not immune from the threat posed by the Wagner Group. Mr. Prigozhin financed the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that has attempted to interfere in the United States elections and sow discord among the American people.

Let me be clear. Mr. Prigozhin is a direct threat to the United States. We cannot allow this behavior to go unchecked. The United States has responded forcefully, sanctioning him, the Wagner Group, the Internet Research Agency, and many more of Mr. Prigozhin's front companies and affiliates.

In October, I was glad to see the EU join the United States in sanctioning Mr. Prigozhin as well.

However, we must keep up the pressure. That is why I support the resolution before us today. It condemns Mr. Prigozhin's corrupt activity, and it sends a direct message to the Kremlin that the United States Congress will continue to hold Mr. Prigozhin accountable for his efforts to further the Putin regime's malign agenda. It also exposes the truth about the Kremlin's ridiculous claim that Mr. Prigozhin and the Wagner Group operate independently.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support this resolution's passage, and I yield back the balance of my time.