WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation alongside Senator Rick Blumenthal (D-CT) pushing for the designation of Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) in response to the war being waged in Ukraine.
The legislation calls on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to make the official designation, as well as “puts the Senate on record as viewing the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, as terrorism.”
Designating Russia an SST would enable the United States to enact additional sanctions, such as “restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports of dual use items, and financial and other restrictions.”
“Putin’s Russia deserves this designation. We should be all-in on making sure that Putin’s Russia is marginalized as long as they engage in this behavior,” Graham said. “This resolution sends a strong message to Ukraine that we are listening and we agree that Putin runs a nation that is a state sponsor of terrorism. We are also letting the Russian people know that our fight is with Putin, and as long as he is your leader, engaging in these activities, you will be isolated on the world stage.”
In addition to the possible use of war crimes against Ukrainian people, the legislation identifies four points of justification for the designation:
- Russian combat troops supporting Syria (a designated SST country) in the Syrian Civil War.
- Support of separatists (subnational groups) in the Donbas since 2014.
- Poisoning of political enemies abroad.
- Use of the Wagner Group to achieve foreign policy objectives globally.
Currently, only four countries are designated as SSTs: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.