US Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, it would also be an attack on NATO.
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“If Putin uses a nuclear weapon, if he follows through on his threat in Ukraine, I would consider that an attack on NATO writ large,” Graham said during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on war crimes accountability on Wednesday. “The radiation would affect all of Europe, not just Ukraine.”
He called for both Congress and NATO to reinforce the message that “all hell would come to bear on Putin” should the Russian president direct a nuclear attack on Ukraine.
Graham said that Congress would make efforts to provide Ukraine with weapons and economic assistance to continue fighting; to classify Russia as a Category 5 state sponsor of terror like North Korea and Iran, and to “open up evidentiary lanes to the ICC” to facilitate the prosecution of alleged Russian war crimes.
He added that if Congress could achieve all of this by the end of the year, then 2023 would be a “consequential year” that would see the turn of the tide of battle in Ukraine.
Announcing partial mobilization to support the special military operation in Ukraine last week, President Vladimir Putin accused the west of using the threat of nuclear weapons to blackmail Russia and warned that Moscow would use all means in case its territorial integrity is threatened.
Meanwhile, the US Senate could pass a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government and avoid a shutdown, as well as provide more than $12 billion in new Ukraine-related funding by Thursday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
“We must work fast to finish the process here on the floor, send the continuing resolution to the House, and then send it to the president’s desk before the clock runs out. With cooperation from our Republican colleagues, the Senate can finish its work of keeping the government open as soon as tomorrow,” Schumer said during remarks on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell similarly said during remarks on the Senate floor that the upper chamber of Congress is “on track” to pass a bipartisan government funding bill.
The proposed legislation maintains fiscal year 2022 funding levels through December 16, avoiding a government shutdown set to start on October 1 if its operations are not funded, according to a summary of the bill.
The legislation provides approximately $12.4 billion in new Ukraine-related funding as well, including $4.5 billion in economic assistance for Kiev, $3 billion in security aid, $2.8 billion for the US European Command and $1.5 billion to replenish US weapons stocks.
The bill also authorizes $3.7 billion in US equipment, including from stocks replenished under the legislation, to be sent to Ukraine using the Presidential Drawdown Authority.
In addition, the legislation allocates $540 million to increase critical munitions production, $35 million for nuclear incident preparedness in Ukraine and $2 million for an Inspector General report on Ukraine assistance monitoring.
The bill also provides funding for domestic initiatives such as low-income heating assistance, disaster relief and investigative activities associated with Afghan resettlement operations.
The legislation initially faced Republican opposition due to the inclusion of energy production permitting reform measures by US Senator Joe Manchin that were eventually dropped in order to gather Republican support needed to overcome the Senate’s 60-vote barrier to passage.
The White House said it looks forward to the bill’s passage and working with Congress to pass a full-year appropriations bill in the coming months.
- Via Sputnik News Agency
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