(Washington) The US attorney general on Wednesday labeled Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, “a war criminal”.
“I think we have enough evidence to support my feelings,” Merrick Garland said during a Senate hearing.
Wagner’s group was “responsible for attacks on Ukrainians in the Donbass, including the use of prisoners from Russian camps as cannon fodder,” a minister for Democratic President Joe Biden said.
“What they are doing is unimaginable and we must do everything to stop them,” he reiterated, pledging to help Ukrainian justice investigate these crimes.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Andriï Kostine, recently announced the opening of a “war crimes” investigation against Evguéni Prigojine.
The 61-year-old businessman, who made his fortune in the restaurant industry, recently admitted that he founded the Wagner Group in 2014, but also created a “troll farm” to run propaganda campaigns on the Internet. He was indicted in the United States in 2018 for meddling in the 2016 election.
The Wagner group, like the Italian or Japanese mafias, has been designated by the United States as a transnational international criminal organization, and elected members of Congress insist on qualifying it as a “terrorist group” henceforth.
During his hearing, Merrick Garland also said the United States “supported” European efforts at The Hague, where an “international coordination center for the investigation of the crime of aggression” is set to open in the summer.
However, he added, “As for creating a special court, we have to take into account how it might affect our own troops.”