Pompeo Confirms U.S. Forces Killed Russian Mercenaries

CIA Director and Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo confirmed on Thursday that United States forces killed a couple hundred Russians in Syria back in February.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), during Pompeo's confirmation hearing to be the next secretary of state, questioned the adequacy of the Trump administration's actions in implementing sanctions against Russia.

"And let me just say, you talked about the actions that have been taken by this administration. But the fact is, the sanctions that were passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate, that had bipartisan support, have not been fully implemented by this administration," Shaheen said. "So we have mandatory sanctions related to Russian crude oil products that hasn't been implemented. We have sanctions with respect to Russia and other foreign financial institutions not implemented. Sanctions with respect to transactions with foreign sanction evaders and serious human rights abusers in the Russian Federation not implemented yet."

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"I could go on, but as the secretary of state, will you argue that we need to go ahead and implement the rest of these sanctions in a way that holds Russia accountable for its interference?" Shaheen asked.

"Yes ma'am, every day," Pompeo responded.

"Vladimir Putin has not yet received the message sufficiently, and we need to continue to work at that," he added.

Pompeo went on to list all the actions the Trump administration has taken against Russia, including confirming that U.S. forces killed over a hundred Russians in Syria.

"But it hasn't just been sanctions. The largest expulsion, 60 folks, was from this administration. This administration announced a nuclear posture review that has put Russia on notice that we're going to recapitalize our deterrent force. In Syria, now a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match and a couple hundred Russias were killed."

Back in February, dozens of Russian mercenaries killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria have been reported to be part of a secret Kremlin-backed private military company, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials.