South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced a resolution on Tuesday to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terror.
The resolution urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to add the designation to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
“Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate — views the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, as acts of terrorism,” the resolution noted.
Full text of the Graham-Blumenthal resolution calling for designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism 🔽🔽 pic.twitter.com/s0nEqRhxfm
— Toby Douthat (@tobydouthat) May 10, 2022
The U.S. currently lists only four nations as state sponsors of terror. The nations include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
“Last week the Ukrainian government took a vote urging the U.S. Congress to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. So we heard their plea and we’re answering their request,” Graham said.
“We should be all-in in making sure that Putin is marginalized and his country is marginalized as long as his country is engaged in the matter that they are engaging in,” he added during the press conference.
Graham also spoke out against Putin in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” to call for regime change.
“If we back off prosecuting Putin as a war criminal, all the laws on the books become a joke. If we don’t get this right, China will certainly invade Taiwan,” the senator argued.
“There is no off ramp in this war. Somebody’s going to win and somebody’s going to lose,” he said.
Graham noted Monday on Twitter that he also supports Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
“NATO needs to get bigger, not smaller,” the senator tweeted. “If Finland and Sweden join NATO and Europe breaks away from dependence on Russian oil and gas, and Putin is declared a war criminal, that would be the best outcome for the world writ large.”
Blumenthal, who serves as the bipartisan sponsor of the resolution, has also spoken out strongly against Russia.
“Russia’s horrific inhumanity—barbaric atrocities & war crimes—have richly earned its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. I’ll be leading this resolution with Senator Graham, applying stiffer sanctions & making it a true pariah among nations,” he wrote on Twitter Monday.
The resolution comes as missiles continue to strike civilians in Ukraine more than 70 days after Russia’s invasion launched on February 24.
“Ukraine said Russian forces fired seven missiles Monday at Odesa, hitting a shopping center and a warehouse in the country’s largest port. One person was killed and five wounded, the military said,” the Associated Press reported.
“Images overnight showed a burning building and debris — including a tennis shoe — in a heap of destruction in the city on the Black Sea. Mayor Gennady Trukhanov later visited the warehouse and said it ‘had nothing in common with military infrastructure or military objects,’” the report added.
Graham’s announcement also comes one day after Putin’s Victory Day speech that many feared could escalate the war. Putin’s words did not declare victory but instead indicated the Ukrainian invasion could be part of a long-term war.