A bipartisan group of House members has introduced a bill to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The bill was led by Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., along with Republican Reps. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, and Democrat Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey.
"The world is painfully aware of war criminal [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent and ongoing bloodbath that has already resulted in the senseless death of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers," Wilson said.
"However, Russia's involvement in international terrorism is more expansive and has been well documented for years, whether through direct attacks on civilian and humanitarian infrastructure or orchestrated through its networks of contracted mercenaries around the world.
"Putin's reign of terror must stop, and this designation is one way to formally and collectively recognize Putin's extensive crimes against humanity."
And Lieu said: "The United States must use every tool we have to stop Russia from its violent aggression in Ukraine,
"Russia supports proxies conducting terrorism against civilians around the globe, from Syria to Ukraine. By designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, this legislation increases consequences on Putin's murderous behavior.
"Drawing on sanctions authority originally created by Congress, the bill further isolates Russia and inflicts more economic consequences on Putin's regime. I'm pleased to bring together a bipartisan coalition of members to champion this issue."
Politico noted that the bill is at odds with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who argues only he can label a country as a state sponsor or terrorism.
The secretary of state's office typically maintains authority over "sponsors of terrorism" designation
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the designation "long overdue."
"I've been advocating it for four months, at least," she said.
According to Politico, a nonbinding resolution passed the Senate unanimously on Wednesday calling on Blinken to make the designation.
But the bill by the five House members goes further by bypassing Blinken and calling on Congress to make the designation.
The bill notes: "The Russian Federation shall be deemed to have been determined to be a country the government of which has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism."
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