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Duo of leading bipartisan US senators introduce law to declare Russia state sponsor of terror

by Nate Ostiller June 21, 2024 1:24 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham during the meeting in Kyiv on March 18, 2024. (Ukraine's Presidential Office)
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U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal introduced a bill on June 20 to officially declare Russia a state sponsor of terror.

Graham, a Republican, and Blumenthal, a Democrat, cited the recent security agreement that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a signal of the long overdue need to make the declaration formal.

Displaying a picture of Putin and Kim standing together in Pyongyang, Blumenthal characterized them as "two of the most autocratic, atrocity-committing leaders in the world."

Graham previously led the charge to get the Senate to declare Russia a state sponsor of terror in 2023. While the move was successful, it was a non-binding resolution, and only called Secretary of State Antony Blinken to personally use the term.

The new bill would require the State Department to label Russia as a state sponsor of terror, which would entail additional sanctions and other restrictions on the country. If the measure is successful, Russia would join four other countries already on the list—Syria, Iran, Cuba, and North Korea.

"We're not trying to be provocative by labeling Putin a state sponsor of terrorism," said Graham.

"After the defense agreement between North Korea and Russia, it is time for us to push back. Here's a general rule: Anybody that does a defense agreement with North Korea should be a state sponsor."

The European Parliament, Poland, Slovakia, and other countries have previously labeled Russia as a state sponsor of terror.

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