US lawmakers accuse Russia of ‘genocide’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture shows Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian comedian-turned-president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, pleading to US congressmen for aid at the Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 20, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

A group of seven US lawmakers has accused Russian forces of committing "genocide" during the Ukraine conflict. 

Russian forces launched a special military operation in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region in late February.

The Russian head of state has repeatedly said that US-led NATO forces' eastward expansion forced Russia to take defensive steps.

US Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a resolution on Thursday claiming Russia’s special operation in Donbas amounted to a genocide against the people of Ukraine.

“There is no question that what Russia is doing in Ukraine is a genocide ...  It’s time the United States and the world recognize it as such,” said Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“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 ... 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,” said Portman.

“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. 

“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,” said Graham. 

“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,” said Cardin. 

“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.

“This resolution rightly condemns Putin’s systematic torture and murder of Ukrainian people as a genocide,” said Blumenthal.

The US senators introduced the anti-Russia resolution shortly after Ukraine's visiting first lady, Olena Zelenska, plead to American lawmakers at Capitol Hill for more military and financial aid to fight Russian forces in Donbas.

The conflict in Ukraine began on February 24 after Moscow launched a special military operation to demilitarize and 'de-Nazify' the ex-Soviet country and to “liberate” Donbas, composed of two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Moscow had officially recognized the two regions as independent republics two days prior to the conflict.

Since then, the United States and its European allies have supplied billions of dollars worth of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine and imposed waves of unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.

Russia has repeatedly warned the West that sending more weapons will only prolong the conflict.

The weapons sent to Kiev include long-range range missiles capable of striking targets in Russia.

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