Jun 20 2024

Graham, Blumenthal Introduce Bill Designating Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) today introduced their bill to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law.

Countries currently designated as state sponsors of terrorism under U.S. law are Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. State sponsors of terrorism are defined as having repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. 

“When it comes to pushing back against Putin’s Russia, Senator Blumenthal has been terrific and I’m grateful for his efforts,” said Senator Graham. “I’m looking forward to voting on our legislation to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law for several reasons. Most importantly, this designation would dramatically increase the tools available to the U.S. to punish Putin for his barbaric behavior in Ukraine and his disruptive behavior throughout Africa and the world at large. Putin’s Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism and it’s long past time to make it official under U.S. law.”

“Russia's cruel campaign of violence and aggression has earned it the right to be among the pariah club of state sponsors of terrorism. Putin's unprovoked invasion has involved countless atrocities and crimes against humanity, inflicting terror and death on thousands of innocent civilians. He has repeatedly shown reliance on torture and murder. Designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism will allow the United States to more aggressively combat Putin's savagery as well as his threat to freedom and democracy,” said Senator Blumenthal.

Background on the Designating the Russia Federation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism Act

The bill would:

  • Have secondary effects, including sanctions, for countries engaged in any exchange with Russia
  • Expand the type of dual-use export items that would not be allowed into Russia
  • Drastically curtail Russia’s sovereign immunity in the eyes of U.S. courts, thereby opening up Russia to lawsuits and other civil claims from victims of state sponsored terrorism

Background on the Russian Federation’s actions that qualify its designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism

At the direction of Vladimir Putin, the government of Russia has promoted, and continues to promote, acts of international terrorism against political opponents, foreign nationals and other countries. Examples include:

  • 2004: The chemical poisoning of Ukrainian presidential candidate and informal opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko
  • 2006: The poisoning of a former Russian Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko while he was in London
  • 2014: Supplying surface to air missiles used by pro-Russian rebels to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 resulting in the deaths of 298 innocent men, women and children
  • 2016: Supporting the aerial bombing campaign by the Russian-Syrian coalition in the city of Aleppo, Syria, killing at least 430 people and striking civilian targets, including the al-Sakhour Medical Center
  • 2018: Poisoning former Russian military officer and British double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom
  • 2022: Illegally invading the sovereign nation of Ukraine, resulting in the brutal murder of thousands of innocent civilians
  • 2024: Russian opposition leader and vocal Putin critic Aleksey Navalny was reported dead after Russian officials announced he died from “sudden death syndrome.” Following Navalny’s death, President Biden said “make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. What has happened to Navalny is more proof of Putin’s brutality.”

To read the full bill text, click HERE.

Click here to watch the joint press conference