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Senators push back on Russian official's candidacy for Interpol president

A group of U.S. senators is urging the Trump administration to oppose a Russian official's candidacy to lead Interpol.

"Interpol electing Major General Alexander Prokopchuk as its new President is akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse," wrote Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  Crist launches bid for Florida governor, seeking to recapture his old job MORE (R-Fla.), Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Del.) Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenBowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' If Taliban regains power, they would roll back rights for women: US intelligence Manchin says he doesn't support DC statehood, election reform bills MORE (R-N.H.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerBiden visits local Mexican restaurant to highlight relief program Pelosi slams McCarthy for promoting COVID-19 relief provision OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland reverses Trump effort on tribal land | Senate confirms Janet McCabe as deputy EPA chief | Study finds quick action on methane could significantly cut into global warming MORE (R-Miss.) in a joint statement.

"Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists," they wrote.

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The senators accused Prokopchuk, a veteran Russian Interior Ministry official, of being "personally involved in this intimidation strategy."

"If elected as President by the members of Interpol’s General Assembly on Wednesday, we have no doubt that Mr. Prokopchuk will further institutionalize the abuse of Interpol red notices and block ongoing efforts at meaningful reform," they added. 

Russia, however, argued that the senators' statement was tantamount to "a kind of election interference, the election held by this international organization," according to The Wall Street Journal.

A spokeswoman for Russia's Interior Ministry, Irina Volk, said in a statement that Prokopchuk's current post at Interpol and years in law enforcement confirmed "the trust and high appreciation of his activities in this international organization.”

She said Prokopchuk would "operate completely in the interests of the international police community" if elected.

Interpol confirmed to the Journal on Tuesday that Prokopchuk had been nominated for president of the global police agency along with a South Korean official, Kim Jong-yang. 

The elections for Interpol's presidency will be held Wednesday. 

Its last president, Meng Hongwei, resigned in October after he was arrested in China on charges of corruption.