Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Friday that President Joe Biden needs to designate Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism."
"[Russian President Vladimir Putin is] a war criminal on steroids," Graham said in a televised interview Friday. "So, President [Joe] Biden, please designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism today. And please let Russia know that if you explode a nuclear weapon inside of Ukraine, that would be considered an attack on NATO itself because the radiation would not be confined to the Ukraine. Putin needs to know what happens if he goes further, and I'm really worried that we're not doing enough to deter this guy. The Ukrainians are fighting like tigers, but we're always late to the game, in terms of helping."
Putin announced in a speech Friday that Russia was annexing four Ukrainian regions following referendum votes in those areas to join the Russian federation, The New York Times reported.
"I call on the Kyiv regime to immediately cease fire and all military action, [and] to return to the negotiating table," The Times reported Putin saying in the speech. "But we will not discuss the decision of the people of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. It has been made. Russia will not betray it."
In a statement Friday, Biden said the annexations "have no legitimacy" and that the United States would continue to recognize Ukraine's pre-war borders.
"Make no mistake: These actions have no legitimacy," Biden's statement said. "The United States will always honor Ukraine's internationally recognized borders. We will continue to support Ukraine's efforts to regain control of its territory by strengthening its hand militarily and diplomatically, including through the $1.1 billion in additional security assistance the United States announced this week."
Graham said that Biden, up until now, has not made the designation, despite a unanimous vote for it in the Senate.
"The president, Biden, has refused to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law," Graham said. "We had a vote in the Senate 100-nothing, urging the Biden administration, declaring Putin's Russia a state sponsor of terrorism like Iran and North Korea. If you did that, we would have access to federal courts to sue for the damage done in Ukraine and throughout the world by Putin."
But it was Putin accusing the United States of "Satanism" during his speech.
"Not only do Western elites deny national sovereignty and international law," The Times reported he said in the 37-minute address. "Their hegemony has a pronounced character of totalitarianism, despotism and apartheid."
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