In advance of President Obama’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 18, Congress has continued to find ways to pressure one of the Syrian regime’s greatest enablers.
On June 14, a bipartisan resolution (S.Res. 494) condemning the Russian government for providing weapons to the Syrian regime was introduced in the Senate.
Russia continues to provide significant support to the Syrian government and has effectively prevented the United Nations Security Council from taking substantial action to hold the Syrian government accountable. In 2011, the Russian government provided over $1 billion in weapons to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and this week attempted to ship attack helicopters and munitions to the Syrian military.
The resolution urges the Russian government to immediately end all weapon transfers to Syria, calls upon the Assad regime to end violence against civilians, supports sanctions against perpetrators of violence and supports a peaceful transition of leadership in Syria.
United to End Genocide’s Executive Director Bama Athreya issued a statement regarding the resolution:
We welcome the introduction of a bipartisan resolution in the Senate that clearly exposes the Russian government for what it is: an enabler of atrocities in Syria. Russia must take responsibility for its inexcusable actions to both supply Syria with the means to slaughter thousands of its own people and the political cover to get away with it.
Similarly, Winny Chen from Human Rights First points out that S.Res. 494 “sends a clear signal to Russia that the U.S. Senate won’t just stand by as the country fuels Assad’s bloody crackdown; the senators will work to isolate Russia as long as it continues to enable the slaughter of Syrian civilians.”
The resolution was introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), James Risch (R-ID) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The resolution represents the latest in the bipartisan efforts by these Senators, who have worked together over the past several months to help end the violence in Syria.