Lindsey Graham Claims It’s Time to Give Russia a New Label

( – South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on February 18 that the United States needed to designate Russia as a “state sponsor” of terrorism around the world. The announcement came following the death of Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny. During an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation, the GOP leader said that Navalny was one of the bravest people he met in his life.

The Russian opposition leader was jailed by the Kremlin in 2021, after he returned from Germany after years in exile, in what many political analysts considered a frontal challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was poisoned in 2020 with a nerve agent, which nearly caused his death.

The Siberian penal colony where Navalny was jailed announced his death on February 16. He was serving multiple sentences for “extremism” and fraud, which he and many political activists and leaders around the world said was politically motivated. While his cause of death remains unclear, many believe that the Kremlin is behind his death.

During the interview, Graham said he believes Navalny knew Putin was going to kill him at the moment he returned to Russia. He also said that the Kremlin has to pay for his death and revealed he had already talked with “two Democratic senators” to make the Eurasian nation a state sponsor of terrorism under United States law. He said the move would be efficient as it would allow Navalny’s family to come to a US court and sue the Russian president for killing the opposition leader.

When asked if he believes that taking the step would pressure the Kremlin, Graham told CBS host Robert Costa it would actually be a “game changer.” He explained that designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism would allow the US and other Western governments to impose more economic and individual sanctions against Moscow. The South Carolina senator also told Costa it would “open up” the US courtroom against Russia.

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