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US Senator Graham calls for Russia to be designated as state sponsor of terrorism

Graham expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 87% approval rating in elections, deeming it “so astonishing that it lacks credibility.”
US Senator Lindsey Graham
US Senator Lindsey Graham in Kyiv on 18 March 2024. Credit: Ukraine’s Presidential Office
US Senator Graham calls for Russia to be designated as state sponsor of terrorism

During his visit to Kyiv on 18 March, Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham said he would appeal to President Joe Biden’s administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, Suspilne reported.

Graham’s visit comes as US aid to Ukraine has been stalled since last fall due largely to opposition from the far-right Republicans in the US Congress, suspending military assistance that Kyiv badly needs to fight Russia. The Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill, including $60+ billion for Ukraine, last month with bipartisan support, yet Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson made clear he wouldn’t give it a vote on the House floor, stating on 14 February that the House will not feel “rushed” to pass the package.

“I will ask the Biden administration to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism under US law,” Graham stated, speaking at a press conference, as Suspilne reported.

Graham expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 87% approval rating in elections, deeming it “so astonishing that it lacks credibility.” He further explained that designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism would significantly empower secondary sanctions against entities aiding Russia, such as China and India.

The senator also highlighted the ineffectiveness of the current global sanctions policy against Russia, noting that “the Russian economy is too strong” and calling for a redoubling of efforts to target economic assets. Despite the US’s desire to assist Ukraine, Graham acknowledged domestic challenges, including border issues, and expressed doubts about resolving these challenges before the US presidential elections. However, he emphasized the need to continue efforts in the House of Representatives to address border security and aid for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel.

Graham mentioned his conversation with House Speaker Mike Johnson before his visit to Ukraine, expressing hope for the swift approval of turning aid to Ukraine into a transparent loan. He believes this idea will be popular among both Republicans and Democrats, and he stressed that this year is “decisive for the future of Europe and the world as a whole.”

On the same day, Senator Graham met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and they “discussed the issue of further comprehensive assistance to Ukraine from the US,” Ukraine’s Presidential Office reported.

Note: While the original press conference was conducted in English, it was published in Ukrainian. The quotes have been translated back into English, which may introduce some errors or inconsistencies.

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