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Senate decision would urge Biden administration to designate Russia as state sponsor of terrorism sponsor below Putin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a army parade on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022.

Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters

Two senators unveiled a decision Tuesday calling on the Biden administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism for its battle on Ukraine and conduct elsewhere below Vladimir Putin.

“Putin is a thug, and a bully, and he will continue being an increasing threat to Europe and the world unless he is stopped,” mentioned Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., as he introduced the introduction of the decision with Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican.

“If there is anybody who embodies terrorism, and totalitarianism and tyranny, it’s Putin,” Blumenthal mentioned at a information convention.

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The decision, which is available in response to a request for such a transfer by Ukraine’s parliament, would ask Secretary of State Antony Blinken to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism — presumably as a part of a supplemental support bundle for Ukraine set to be thought-about by Congress.

But to date, the Biden administration has resisted calls so as to add Russia to what’s a tiny record of nations designated as terror sponsors: Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki was requested Monday about imposing that designation.

Psaki famous that quite a lot of the actions the United States would take if that occurred, together with imposing “crippling economic sanctions, sanctions on individuals” and different restrictions, in addition to making a rustic “a global pariah … are all steps that we have already taken and implemented as it relates to Russia.”

She added, “We’ll see what happens in Congress.”

State Department spokesman Ned Price, when requested concerning the decision Tuesday, informed reporters, “We’ll continue to watch and to determine whether Russia’s actions in Ukraine merit and qualify for additional authorities” contained within the designation past the sanctions already in impact.

“If we feel those authorities are appropriate, we won’t hesitate to apply them,” Price mentioned.

On Tuesday, Blumenthal concede the purpose that the U.S. has already punished Russia with most of the sensible results of a terror sponsor designation after it invaded Ukraine in late February.

However, Blumenthal mentioned that one “really important” penalty for Russia would come from a terror sponsor designation: the lifting of sovereign immunity that presently protects Russia and most different nations from being sued by people for civil damages with out the consent of these nations.

And Graham mentioned it is very important label Russia as a terror sponsor to clarify that its conduct below Putin’s management is unacceptable, and to clarify how strongly the United States helps Ukraine in its effort to expel the Russian invaders.

“I can’t think of a stronger signal,” Graham mentioned. “What are we trying to do here? “We’re attempting to bolster the Ukrainians’ potential to struggle for his or her freedom. We’re attempting to delegitimize Putin.”

“Putin has engaged in battle on a number of fronts for 20 years,” Graham said. “One of probably the most disruptive forces on the planet is Putin’s Russia.”

He estimated that if a vote is taken on the resolution, at least 90 senators in the 100-member Senate would vote in favor of it.

The proposed resolution cites more than the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. It calls for Russia to be added to the state sponsor of terror list for actions under Putin’s leadership that have included attempts to poison individuals whom he considers enemies, the attacks on the Chechen city of Grozny in 1999 through 2000 and the bombing of the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2016, Blumenthal said.

Graham added that Russia is committing “battle crimes on an industrial scale” in Ukraine.

The senators were asked at the news conference why they were not proposing a similar resolution that would ask that China be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, given allegations of the forceful harvesting of organs from people detained in Chinese prison camps and for other human rights abuse claims against that nation.

While noting that they were focused Tuesday on Russia’s actions, particularly because of the ongoing war against Ukraine, both Graham and Blumenthal said that passing their resolution would put China on notice of what could happen if it invaded Taiwan or committed other acts of terror.

“The Chinese do not need to be a part of this membership,” Blumenthal said of the state sponsors of terror list.

“I believe they’re watching,” he said. “I believe if we put Russia on this membership, it is going to be one other deterrent to China.”

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