Republicans Call Russian Invasion Of Ukraine ‘Genocide,’ Urge Biden To Amp Up Arms Sharing

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Several Republicans have begun calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “genocide,” and are calling on Congress to quickly approve a military aid package.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has explained in speeches and essays that he does not view Ukraine as a real country, describing it as “created by Vladimir Lenin” in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War. Putin has reportedly targeted schools and orphanages and used cluster and thermobaric bombs on civilian populations, all of which are considered war crimes.

Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz, who was born in Ukraine, said at a Tuesday press conference that Putin’s invasion is a “genocide of the Ukrainian people by a crazy man who cannot get over that Ukrainian people do not want socialism, Soviet Union, communism.”

“We have not just a moral duty, we are the leaders of the free world, this is going to be the biggest genocide the world has ever experienced and they’re not asking them to fight for us, but they ask us to help, to become serious so they have the ability to defend themselves,” she added.

As a signatory to the United Nations genocide convention, the U.S. is required to punish perpetrators if it finds that a genocide has occurred. However, no specific policy steps are required of a country that determines a genocide. Under U.S. law, only the Secretary of State can designate a given action a genocide. (RELATED: The US Declared China Is Committing Genocide Against Uyghurs—What Happens Next?)

Georgia Rep. Drew Ferguson, the House Republican Chief Deputy Whip, also called Russia’s actions in Ukraine a genocide, while describing Putin as a “war criminal and a terrorist.”

“Why in the world are we buying oil from Russia right now? We are funding the genocide against the Ukrainian people. Every barrel of oil we buy has a quart of Ukrainian blood in it,” he said.

Ferguson expressed optimism that Congress could come together on an aid package to support Ukraine, adding that attempts to include it in the omnibus spending bill “would show division in this country.” House Republicans split on the most recent government funding bill, with 51 supporting and 161 opposing.

“House Republicans stand ready to do our part to make sure that the Ukrainian people have the arms and munitions to defend themselves. I would hope that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would deal with this as a standalone issue, and get it through quickly.”

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, described Russian actions as war crimes.

“Forty miles of tanks are lined up just north of Kyiv as I speak, getting ready to move in with these thermobaric bombs that suck oxygen out of the air and inflame the lungs with fire,” he explained. “They kill children. It is actually, I believe, a war crime.”

Tennessee Rep. Mark Green, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, called for the U.S. government to take “a range of actions… short of placing boots on the ground” to support Ukraine.

“What I want is maximizing lethal aid,” Green said of a military aid package. “So that means javelins and stingers. It means a lot of ammunition. The Germans have now allowed those howitzers to go, so putting rounds in those guns would be great. Whatever maximizes lethal aid to the Ukrainians is a good thing.”

“I agree with President Biden’s decision to send troops to NATO countries, I agree with him on that,” Green added.