The Trump Administration has designated a white supremacist group a terror organization, marking the first time the U.S. has ever made such a move, according to the Associated Press.
The Russian Imperial Movement was classified a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” group Monday, and is the first white supremacist group to receive the designation, which will make it illegal for Americans to engage with the organization and freezes any assets it may have in U.S. jurisdictions, the Associated Press reported.
Secretary of State Mike Pompey and his counterterrorism coordinator Nathan Sales announced the step. (RELATED: White Supremacist Leader Escapes Jail In Arkansas, Considered Armed And Dangerous)
“These designations are unprecedented,” Sales said, according to the Associated Press. “This is the first time the United States has ever designated white supremacist terrorists, illustrating how seriously this administration takes the threat. We are taking actions no previous administration has taken to counter this threat.”
The Russian Imperial Movement allegedly provided paramilitary training to neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Russia and elsewhere from two camps it runs in St. Petersburg. In 2016, it was alleged to have trained two Swedes who later carried out a series of terrorist attacks in Gothenburg, Sweden, which includes bombing a cafe and attempting to bomb a campfire housing refugees, U.S. officials said according to the Associated Press.
NYT reports Trump administration will designate ultranationalist Russian Imperial Movement a terrorist org. The movement, known also by its Russian acronym RID, recruited Russians to fight in Ukraine, trained locals in Crimea during annexation operation. https://t.co/0JUkzXIzNv
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) April 6, 2020
While it was not made immediately clear what the practical impact of the designation will be since the Russian Imperial Movement is relatively small without major international reach like terror groups such as Al-Qaeda or ISIS, it will make it easier for national security prosecutors at the Justice Department to bring terrorism-related charges against anyone who engages in financial transactions with affiliates off the group. The designation has also been used to bar entry to the U.S. by members of named groups.