WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Two U.S. Senators from opposite sides of the aisle are teaming up to pass a resolution to urge the Secretary of State to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.) say that Ukraine asked the U.S. to designate Russia as a terrorist country, and that doing so would show Ukraine it has the full support of the United States.
“Putin is a thug and a criminal,” Blumenthal said. “That’s why our own national security is at risk.”
“This designation will matter in U.S. law. There are only four other countries that have such designation,” Graham added.
Russia is accused of committing war crimes, such as intentionally targetting civilians in Ukraine. Graham says that he believes that Putin’s goal is to “recreate the Soviet empire of the former Soviet Union as much as he can.”
Both senators also say that the move would set an example for other countries and send a message to Russia to “change course.”
“If you stay with Putin it’s going to be a miserable existence for the Russian people,” Graham said.
The senators want their resolution attached to the package that would provide nearly $40 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine.
“The need is great, and time is of the essence,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
The Biden administration says it won’t hesitate to use appropriate tools, but that the state department must follow proper procedure.
“They take a look at the law and undergo a review of whether somebody has violated, whether a country has violated international terrorism laws,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.