Senate passes resolution supporting Putin war crime probe

Associated Press/Mikhail Klimentyev- Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo

The Senate on Tuesday passed a non-binding resolution supporting a war crimes investigation into Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.

The resolution, spearheaded by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), passed by voice vote after negotiating changes to the resolution with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Graham, in a statement, said that he was “very excited” that the resolution passed and that the United States “should do all we can to aid this investigation by providing information and intelligence to the court in a timely manner.”
“The next step for me is to work with our British allies and hopefully others to create an intel cell that will make available to the public Russian military units engaged in war crimes and start naming their commanders. A name-and-shame campaign is in the making,” he added.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) added that the Senate had joined together “to say that Vladimir Putin cannot escape accountability for the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people.”

“The legislation passing today, championed by Senator Graham, sends an unmistakable message that the U.S. Senate stands with Ukraine, stands against Putin, and stands with all efforts to hold Putin accountable for the atrocities levied upon the Ukrainian people,” he added.

The resolution was formally cosponsored by more than 20 senators, including Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who leads the Senate Appropriations Committee State and Foreign Operations subcommittee with Graham, as well as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine caucus.

The resolution from Graham throws Senate support behind condemning violence “including war crimes, crimes against humanity and systemic human rights abuses” being carried by the Russian military, encourages countries to petition the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes carried out by the Russian military and Russian President Vladimir Putin and formally supports a war crimes investigation.

As part of negotiations between Graham and Paul, the resolution that passed the Senate on Tuesday night also includes language noting that the resolution is not a declaration or authorization of war against Russia and does not greenlight sending U.S. troops to Ukraine.

The ICC announced late last month that it was opening an investigation into the situation in Ukraine.

The Senate’s passage of the resolution also comes a day before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will virtually address lawmakers, and the American public, on Wednesday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is poised to enter its fourth week. 

Updated March 19, 12:22 p.m.

Tags Charles Schumer Chris Coons Dick Durbin Lindsey Graham Rand Paul Vladimir Putin War crimes

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