Lindsey Graham urges US to declare Russia a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’, urges F-16s to be sent to Ukraine

Senator Lindsay Graham (RS.C.) pressured Biden administration to declare Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” and send F-16 fighter jets to support Ukrainian forces in Russo-Ukrainian war I’m wearing

If Senator Graham’s request is granted, it would significantly increase U.S. military aid to Ukraine. It comes a day after Vice President Kamala Harris officially declared Putin’s Russia to have committed “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine.

F-16 fighter

“They need a weapons system,” Graham said, referring to Ukraine, on ABC’s “This Week” show, which aired on Sunday, February 19.

“The Vice President of the United States is talking about declaring Russia implicated in crimes against humanity in Germany everywhere, reflecting World War II. How can you say that without giving us the defensive arsenal we need to stop the? And she’s right?”

Graham was speaking from Munich over the weekend of the annual Munich Security Conference. This year, nearly 50 US lawmakers and hundreds of politicians from around the world attended.

“That means we need to do two things very quickly,” continued Graham. “Designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law would make it harder for China to arm Russia, and we need to start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 now.”

Epoch Times photo
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 140th Air Wing of the Colorado Air National Guard flies during a NATO exercise over Amari Air Force Base, Estonia, June 12, 2018. (Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

A decision on sending combatants to Ukraine is still pending, according to US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield.

Greenfield told CNN’s “State of the Union” program, “We need to make sure that we have the necessary training and are competent to use the weapons systems we provide, and Secretary Brinken also wants to do this. I think I said that,” he said. 19. “Discussions will continue over the coming weeks and months to determine how best to support.”

When asked in January whether he would consider supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, President Joe Biden said “no.”

But the New York Times Quote Communications from U.S. officials following Biden’s refusal indicate that sending F-16s is not out of the question.

To date, the United States has committed to surrender one Patriot battery, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

abrams tank
A US M1A2 “Abrams” tank moves into firing position during US-led joint military exercise Noble Partner 2016 near Baziani, Georgia, May 18, 2016. (David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters)

“Once back in Washington, the administration’s decision to begin training Ukrainian pilots in F-16s will be imminent here,” Graham said.

Two days before Graham’s request, a bipartisan group of U.S. House members petitioned Biden in a letter to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. The signatories include Jared Golden (Democrat-Maine), Jason Crow (Democrat-Colorado), Chrissy Houlahan (Democrat-Pa), Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), Politico report.

“F-16s or similar fourth-generation fighters are designed to target Russian air-to-air missiles and drones, protect Ukrainian ground forces when engaging Russian forces, and engage Russian fighters. provide Ukraine with a highly mobile platform for air superiority, according to Politico.

State sponsor of a terrorist delegation

Graham also lobbied the Biden administration to label Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

According to the US State Department website, “a country determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism” is designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and subject to unilateral sanctions. The sanctions also apply to persons and countries that have made certain transactions with state sponsors of terrorism, according to the website.

Currently, the United States has designated four countries as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

“You see Putin’s Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism [and] By creating an international tribunal, we can actually try Putin and his associates in an international tribunal, as we did after World War II,” Graham told ABC.

Senators Graham and Senators Richard Blumenthal (Democrat, Connecticut) introduced A bill that, if passed by the Senate last September, would designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. However, the Biden administration is reluctant to proceed with the designation.

At a press conference in September 2022, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the designation was not “the most effective or powerful step forward to hold Russia accountable,” but was “an unintended It could have consequences,” he said. Ability to provide assistance in the regions of Ukraine. ”

In November 2022, the European Union will recognized Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

China issue

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) gestures as he speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, September 16, 2022. (Sergei Bobylev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. lawmakers, including Senator Josh Hawley (R), fear continued U.S. military aid to Ukraine will incur an opportunity cost on another strategic front of deterring China in the Indo-Pacific. is expressed.

According to Hawley, the current U.S. commitment to providing military aid to Ukraine has shifted from aggression by the Communist Party of China (CCP) to the nation’s ability to support Taiwan, the self-governed liberal democratic state of China. The Chinese Communist Party has announced its clear intention to claim Taiwan as its territory.

“The Chinese Communist Party understands that if our resources are tied up in Ukraine, they are resources that cannot be used to deter a Taiwanese invasion. If you want, take Vienna.” “China wants control of the Indo-Pacific and we must stop it there.” speech at the Heritage Foundation in February.

Senator Josh Hawley
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) speaks during a confirmation hearing for the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Hart Senate Office Building in Capitol Hill, Washington, March 21, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Image)

“Nevertheless, Congress is pouring billions of dollars into defending Ukraine at a time when the American public is still dealing with very high inflation. And there is no end in sight,” Hawley said.

“The core issue is that our actions in Ukraine directly affect our ability to project power elsewhere,” he added. “Specifically, to deter China in the Pacific … All this means that decisions come at a price when pouring military power into Ukraine.”