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Risch, Cardin, Colleagues Introduce Resolution Recognizing Russia’s Actions in Ukraine as a Genocide

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, today led Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in introducing a resolution recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which include forced deportations to Russia and the purposeful killing of Ukrainian civilians in mass atrocities, as constituting a genocide against the people of Ukraine. The senators introduced the resolution shortly after Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, delivered an impassioned plea directly to Congress.

“There is no question that what Russia is doing in Ukraine is a genocide,” said Risch. “If you could walk the streets of Kyiv, Irpin and Hostomel like I did last month, and listen to the stories of what the Russian soldiers have done, this is a genocide. The international community is documenting the many Russian abuses that constitute war crimes across Ukraine. It’s time the United States and the world recognize it as such.”

“For five months, the world has seen the brutal, unjustified, and utterly senseless war Russia’s dictator has unleashed on Ukraine,” said Cardin. “Russia is trying to eviscerate not just the people and the buildings of Ukraine, but also they are trying to eliminate the Ukrainian language, Ukrainian history and Ukrainian culture. This is genocide. The world must recognize this fact and those responsible must be held accountable.”

“Russia’s war on Ukraine and its wider aggression in the region are illegal and genocidal, and it is important that the U.S. declare that fact to the world,” said Wicker. “Ukraine must be successful in this war. Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked aggression against a neighbor cannot stand.” 

“This resolution rightly condemns Putin’s systematic torture and murder of Ukrainian people as a genocide,” said Blumenthal. “During my trip to Kyiv and Bucha, I saw the fields where hundreds of Ukrainian women and children were massacred, their hands tied behind their backs, simply because they were Ukrainian. These inhumane practices are genocide, ongoing in real-time. As Russian atrocities continue, the United States must stand up to these crimes against humanity and designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. The rule of law must prevail.”

“Since the beginning of Russia’s brutal assault on Ukraine, Russian forces have demonstrated a clear pattern of targeting and killing Ukrainian civilians en masse, while also deliberately shelling schools, maternity wards, hospitals, homes, apartment buildings, and other civilian infrastructure. They are also committing heinous acts of sexual violence and forcibly deporting hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia,” said Portman. “Combined with Russia’s consistent denial of the existence of Ukrainian nationhood and identity, these acts must be acknowledged for what they are – genocide – and it is important that the United States and the rest of the world recognize them as such.”

“Vladimir Putin is waging a campaign of violence and terror in Ukraine that specifically targets civilians and seeks to wipe out the Ukrainian culture and its people. The United States needs to call it what it is and the global community must respond accordingly. These are acts of genocide and must be stopped now,” said Shaheen. “Our resolution sends a powerful message from the U.S. Senate that we will not take our eyes off of Ukraine and we will keep working together to help our democratic partners defend their rights and to see Putin punished for his atrocities.”

“I appreciate Senator Risch and Senator Cardin leading this resolution that speaks to the truth of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said Graham. “This resolution designates Putin’s actions in Ukraine as genocide – there is no other conclusion to reach. It is time for Congress not only to speak but to act, and it is long past due for the Biden Administration to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.”

This resolution:

  • Condemns Russia for committing acts of genocide against the people of Ukraine;
  • Calls on the United States, along with NATO and EU allies, to support the government of Ukraine to prevent further acts of Russian genocide against the Ukrainian people; and
  • Supports tribunals and international criminal investigations to hold Russian political leaders and military personnel accountable for a war of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Text of the resolution can be found here.