Sens. Blumenthal/Graham: No Economic or Military Aid to Any Country That Recognizes Putin's Illegal Annexation

Susan Jones | September 30, 2022 | 9:04am EDT
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Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Lindsey Graham introduce a bill cutting off all U.S. aid to countries that recognize Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine territory. (Photo: Screen capture)
Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Lindsey Graham introduce a bill cutting off all U.S. aid to countries that recognize Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine territory. (Photo: Screen capture)

(CNSNews.com) - Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday introduced legislation "that 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," Blumenthal said.

The annexation, announced Friday in Moscow, "is unlawful under international law," Blumenthal said. "It is unjustified...It is a land grab. It's a steal. And it is another craven brazen tactic by Vladimir Putin to test the West's support for Ukraine and we are having none of it, nor should any other nation.

"And I'm very glad that our president has stood up and said that it will be regarded as illegal, but more than just words are required."

Graham echoed Blumenthal, saying, the "Hurricane Putin" is "trying to rewrite the map of Europe. He's trying to do by force of arms, what he can't do through the political process."

Graham said nations must choose: "If you side with Putin to recognize his illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine, you will lose all support from the United States, will do everything in our power to marginalize you on the world stage.

"I appreciate what President Biden has said about this. So it's time for Congress to lend our voice to the cause.

"And we have legislation that is very simple and very clear, any nation who recognizes this is illegal annexation by Putin of parts of Ukraine will lose all assistance, military and economic from the United States and uh will become marginalized throughout the world."

The bill is being offered in two forms: As a stand-alone and as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

If Russia nukes Ukraine...

Graham also mentioned Putin's nuclear threat.

In a speech last week, Putin warned that if the "territorial integrity of our country" was threatened, then "to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff."

"In terms of how we relate to Russia, and one last thought as Putin becomes more provocative, we have to stand up, not stand down," Graham said.

"The last thing you can do when you're bullied is to give in to the bully. There's talk about Putin and others in Russia of exploding a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. This is nuclear blackmail."

Graham said he's discussed the nuclear issue with Blumenthal:

"If Putin would actually explode a nuclear weapon inside of Ukraine to stand all of us down and back us off. I think the reaction should be overwhelming. It should be catastrophic to Russia...But from my point of view, the use of a nuclear weapon by Russia and Ukraine would be attack on NATO itself.

"The radiation would not be confined to Ukraine. You would be irradiating parts of Europe that are under the NATO banner. So if that day ever comes, and I hope and pray it doesn't, that should be considered by NATO writ large the United States as an attack by Russia on NATO itself."

Graham supports continued U.S. funding of Ukraine's war effort. He also said he believes there are enough votes in Congress "to put Russia in the category of a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law, based on their behavior."

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