SPONSORED:

Senators press EU to sanction Putin associate for election meddling

Senators press EU to sanction Putin associate for election meddling
© Getty Images

A group of Democrats led by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday urged the European Union (EU) to sanction a top close associate of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Joe Biden the statesman Biden's summit with Putin is a good start MORE for meddling in U.S. elections. 

The lawmakers sent a letter to Stavros Lambrinidis, the head of the Delegation of the EU to the U.S., urging the EU to “take steps to substantially increase economic pressure” on Yevgeny Prigozhin for his role in interfering in the 2016 and upcoming 2020 elections. 

Prigozhin, the leader and main source of funding behind Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), is known as Putin’s chef because his catering group has participated in official dinners Putin has hosted for foreign dignitaries.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Both Prigozhin and the IRA were indicted by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE for spreading misinformation designed to benefit the campaign of now President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE in the run-up to the 2016 elections. 

Prigozhin has also been linked to mercenary organization The Wagner Group, which was sanctioned by the U.S. due to its support of Russian forces in Ukraine. 

“We know that Mr Prigozhin and his associated firms remain actively engaged in spreading malign influence,” the senators wrote. “Given the broad reach and expanding nature of Prigozhin and the Wagner Group’s malign activities abroad, we urge the European Union to take steps to constrain their ability to operate and to deter the Kremlin from engaging in these activities.”

The top Democrats on the Senate Armed Services, Banking, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence Committees —Sens. Jack ReedJack ReedGillibrand: Military must make changes beyond sexual assault cases Overnight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Biden taps tech CEO, former destroyer commander to lead Navy MORE (R.I.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBiden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' MORE (Ohio), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer says Senate will vote on repealing 2002 war authorization The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week Sanders drops bid to block Biden's Israel arms sale MORE (N.J.), and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting On The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike Democrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination MORE (Va.) respectively — also signed on to the letter. 

The senators called on the EU to stand “united” with the U.S. in taking measures to make life more difficult for Prigozhin. 

“The effectiveness of the U.S. sanctions regime is only as strong as our multilateral alliances,” the senators wrote. “Our ability to punish, deter, and put pressure on Prigozhin and respond forcefully to his malign behavior would be significantly enhanced by the active participation of the E.U.”

Following the 2016 elections, Facebook announced that almost 150 million American users had likely been exposed to Russian misinformation from the IRA around the elections. A recent study from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice found evidence that the IRA began attempts to interfere in the 2020 elections last year.