(RightWing.org) – On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed his military upon Ukraine in an all-out bid to complete the takeover he began by “annexing” the Crimea region of the country in 2014. In the years since that annexation, there has been a progression of steps by countries all over the world in an attempt to punish Russia and support the Ukrainians.
During the Munich Security Conference in February this year, Vice President Kamala Harris told the world the United States has determined that Russia has committed “crimes against humanity” in its war against Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken detailed the atrocities in a February 18 statement.
At that time, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) renewed his position that Putin’s regime should be declared “a state sponsor of terrorism” (SST).
An Earlier Attempt to Tag Russia as an SST
On September 14 last year, Graham, along with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), introduced a bill to designate “the Russian Federation a State Sponsor of Terrorism.” In a press release from the Republican’s office at the time, the passage of the bill would impact Russia by:
- Reducing defense and technology exports
- Cutting down foreign assistance levels and adding financial restrictions
- Preventing any sovereign immunity claims in any lawsuit that may be brought in US courts
What is unclear is whether or not the determination by two senior administration officials that the Russians have committed war crimes will change the mind of President Joe Biden and his previous pushback against putting the SST label on the invading country. During a September 6 briefing last year, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to a reporter’s question about Biden’s stance on the matter.
Jean-Pierre reiterated the White House position that designating Russia as an SST “is not the most effective or strongest path forward.” She claimed doing so would create unintended consequences such as increasing the difficulty of getting aid to civilians in certain areas of Ukraine or hampering the deal made to allow Ukrainian grain exports to be shipped from ports in the Black Sea.
When asked in a follow-up question if this was Biden’s final decision, Jean-Pierre unequivocally answered, “yes, it is,” for the three reasons she had already described. She then added a fourth consideration — to strengthen the position of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who should be able to bring the Russians to the negotiating table to end the war.
Back to the Present
Graham appeared on the February 19 broadcast of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and spoke with guest anchor Martha Raddatz about his thoughts on the matter. For him, the SST label is only one part of the solution to give the Ukrainians the ability to push out Russia.
With Harris having made her comments in Germany, Graham used the opportunity to evoke the world’s response to Adolf Hitler during World War II. He agreed with the VP’s words about the crimes against humanity and then asked how one could justify not giving the victims the weapons they need to put a stop to the war. At that point, he mentioned the United Kingdom’s training of Ukrainian pilots and said the United States should do the same and supply them with F-16 fighters to combat Putin’s military.
Raddatz brought up allied nations’ concerns of provoking Putin by providing Ukraine with weapons that could reach Russian territory. While acknowledging that, Graham said that is not his major concern, saying he wants “to beat him” so Putin and members of his government can be tried before international tribunals similar to the Nuremberg trials after the victory in World War II.
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