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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on President Joe Biden on Sunday to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
McConnell shared the comments during a press call from Stockholm on Sunday after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday.
“I think it’s a good idea and I would support that,” he told reporters. “The president could do it on his own and I would urge him to do it.”
McConnell’s words followed a resolution made last Tuesday by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal that called for Russia to be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The resolution urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to add the designation to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The U.S. currently lists only four nations as state sponsors of terror. The nations include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
“Last week the Ukrainian government took a vote urging the U.S. Congress to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. So we heard their plea and we’re answering their request,” Graham said during Tuesday’s press conference.
“We should be all-in in making sure that Putin is marginalized and his country is marginalized as long as his country is engaged in the matter that they are engaging in,” he added during the press conference.
“Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate — views the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, as acts of terrorism,” the resolution noted.
Full text of the Graham-Blumenthal resolution calling for designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism 🔽🔽 pic.twitter.com/s0nEqRhxfm
— Toby Douthat (@tobydouthat) May 10, 2022
The Senate majority leader also emphasized to Zelensky during their Saturday visit that he expects to pass a $40 billion package of additional aid to Ukraine.
“What I assured him — as this is an all-Republican delegation — is that support for Ukraine and this war against the Russians is bipartisan,” McConnell said, adding that the support includes “an overwhelming majority of Republicans.”
“There have always been isolationist voices in the Republican Party,” McConnell added. “I think one of the lessons we learned in World War II is not standing up to aggression early is a huge mistake.”
While the majority of Republicans have supported the additional aid for Ukraine, some GOP members have decided not to rush forward with the additional package.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul took to Twitter to express his concerns with additional support to Ukraine.
“My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation. Congress is trying yet again to ram through a spending bill – one that I doubt anyone has actually read – and there’s no oversight included into how the money is being spent,” Paul wrote.
My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation. Congress is trying yet again to ram through a spending bill – one that I doubt anyone has actually read – and there’s no oversight included into how the money is being spent.
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 13, 2022
“While I sympathize with the people of Ukraine, and commend their fight against Putin, we cannot continue to spend money we don’t have. Passing this bill brings the total we’ve sent to Ukraine to nearly $54 billion over the course of two months,” he added in a later post.
In the House, Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs said last week, “I’m voting against tonight’s reckless $40B Ukraine spending bill. Pelosi rushed the bill to the House floor without hearings or time for members to adequately review the bill. I oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but we can’t help Ukraine by spending money we don’t have.”
I'm voting against tonight's reckless $40B Ukraine spending bill.
Pelosi rushed the bill to the House floor without hearings or time for members to adequately review the bill.
I oppose Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but we can't help Ukraine by spending money we don't have. pic.twitter.com/z2mgJkYN51
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) May 10, 2022