Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday urged President Joe Biden to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
“I think it’s a good idea. I would support that,” McConnell said, according to The Hill and The New York Times. “The president could do it on his own and I would urge him to do it.”
If Biden were to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, it would remove sovereign-immunity protections and allow for the country to be sued for civil damages.
His comments came during a visit to Stockholm, Sweden, as the country’s governing Social Democratic Party announced that it would vote in favor of joining NATO just hours after Finland said it would apply to do the same.
McConnell added that he supported Sweden and Finland’s potential applications to join NATO and said that the United States “ought to be first to ratify the treaty for both these countries to join.”
The lawmaker made a rare trip outside the United States this weekend as he led a delegation of Republican senators to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.
The surprise visit was revealed by Zelensky in a video posted to Facebook, which included a statement thanking the Republican senators for leadership “in helping us fight not only for our country but for democratic values and freedoms.”
Sens. John Barrasso, John Cornyn and Susan Collins were among the delegation which is expected to visit Helsinki before returning to Washington, D.C.
“Helping Ukraine is not an instance of mere philanthropy — it bears directly on America’s national security and vital interests that Russia’s naked aggression not succeed and carries significant costs,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Thursday.
“If Ukraine fails to repel Russian aggression, there is no question that the threat to American and European security will grow.”
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