Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday on “Jesse Watters Primetime” that the U.S. needs to change Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mind by crushing Russian energy and labeling him a “war criminal.”
The senator met with the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova earlier Monday, who apparently “begged” for the U.S. to sanction the Russian oil and gas sector, which makes up 40% of Russia’s economy. He also expressed support of Ukraine’s efforts to make Putin a “war criminal.”
“We should go after them, hit them hard. Every Russian barrel of oil is full of blood and she was begging us to sanction the oil and gas sector of the Russian economy to make it real to Putin he’s not going to get away with this,” Graham told host Jesse Watters. “Secondly, she talked about their petition to make Putin a war criminal. I’m gonna make that my cause.”
Graham cited Markarova in that Russia is likely invoking “scorched Earth” military policy and is in a position to seize Ukraine. The South Carolina senator called President Joe Biden’s administration’s response to Russian aggression “unconscionable,” arguing for increased U.S. efforts. (RELATED: White House Confirms Russian Sanctions Don’t Yet Affect Oil, Gas Exports)
“We’re not doing everything we can to change his [Putin’s] mind,” Graham continued. “We need to crush his oil and gas sector, destroy the ruble, and open up American oil production. What the Biden administration’s doing on the energy front at home and abroad is unconscionable. They need to change policy now.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday that the Russian invasion proves the necessity to move away from crude oil by shifting reliance on green energy. Although the administration sanctioned four Russian banks and exports, they have yet to impose sanctions on the country’s key oil and gas sectors.