Sep 29 2022

Graham, Blumenthal Oppose Russia Annexation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) today introduced legislation and a resolution that makes clear the United States views the annexation of any Ukrainian territory by the Russian Federation as illegal and unworthy of recognition by the international community. 

“This is one of the greatest shams since World War II,” said Graham. “It reeks of Putin’s desperation and violates every tenet of international law and human decency. We must stand strong and reject this illegal and immoral annexation. Territorial integrity is one of the bedrocks of the international order, and any nation which recognizes this illegal act should lose all military and economic assistance from the United States.”

“Our legislation would, very simply, immediately require cutting off economic and military aid to any country that recognizes Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine,” said Blumenthal. “Vladimir Putin is pushing the countries that have backed Ukraine to somehow moderate what they’re doing, and it won’t work. Any nation that aids and abets Vladimir Putin in this absolutely illegal action ought to be held responsible for its complicity. No economic aid, no military aid to any country that recognizes this annexation. It’s a land grab, it’s a steal, and it’s another craven, brazen tactic by Vladimir Putin to test the west’s support for Ukraine. We will continue this effort to hold accountable nations that fail to side with international law, with the fight for freedom, and independence on the part of Ukraine.”

Graham and Blumenthal noted that pro-Russian authorities conducted the sham referenda in four regions in Eastern Ukraine (Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia) between September 23 -27, 2022 with the ultimate goal of annexing these regions into the Russian Federation. 

There were multiple reports of Russian officials visiting schools, hospitals, and workplaces and forcing Ukrainians to vote in favor of annexation.  According to published reports, a number of Ukrainians were forced to cast their vote at gunpoint while others were visited by Russian-installed officials who carried ballot boxes from house to house with armed soldiers.  There is even concern that Ukrainians in the annexed territories will now be conscripted and forced to fight on behalf of Putin.

The legislation, Ensuring Ukrainian Sovereignty Act

  • Requires the President to immediately cut off all economic and military assistance to nations that recognize any annexation sponsored by the Russian Federation; and
  • Submit a report to Congress regarding the nations that have been cut off and the aid that is being restricted
  • The report would go to the Senate/House Appropriations Committee, Senate/House Foreign Relations/Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Senate/House Armed Services Committee

The resolution, which is a statement of support from the United States Senate:

  • Affirms that the Senate refuses to recognize any claim of sovereignty by the Russian Federation over any portion of Ukraine;
  • Affirms the Senate views the recent sham referenda beginning on September 23, 2022, directed by the Government of the Russian Federation, as a violation of international law; and
  • Calls upon the President of the United States to restrict all economic and military aid and assistance to any nation that recognizes Russian sovereignty over any portion of Ukraine

The full text of the legislation can be found here. The full text of the resolution can be found here.