So far, Graham said he’s had some positive conversations with several Senate Democrats about the resolution and noted that he’s starting a “phone blitz” Wednesday calling allies, including the British ambassador, asking them to also back the complaint.
Graham was joined at a news conference unveiling the draft resolution with Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican from Indiana, who is a Ukrainian-American, on Wednesday at the US Capitol.
“The whole international community needs to condemn this,” Spartz said. “This is criminal, this is pure killing of individuals.”
Graham said he expects Russia’s strategy to be “scorched earth” as Putin gets “more desperate” and “as you see that happen, we need to get international law organizations on board behind this complaint.”
“The world has let him get away with too much for too long,” Graham added of Putin. “He’s stolen the Russian people blind, he’s murdered Russian citizens to maintain his iron grip on the country.”
Graham said there is no way to end this conflict without intense economic sanctions and arming Ukraine and Eastern European NATO partners.
“To the Russian people, I doubt if you can hear my words, but our fight is not with you, you’re a victim of Putin as much as anyone, maybe more than most, and I just wanted to let you know that we understand the difference between the Russian people and Putin, but we’re going to need your help. In bringing justice to the table, you’re going to have to suffer,” Graham said.
Graham said stopping Putin is critical to sending a strong message to other leaders that may wish to threaten the world’s rules-based order and pose other potential threats to global security.
“If Ukraine falls to Putin, it will set in motion dire consequences for us as a nation,” he said. “China will get the signal that they can take Taiwan. The Iranians will be believe that we have no will to stop their nuclear ambitions. The converse is true. If the Chinese see the world rally around Ukraine and the rule of law being applied to Putin’s war crimes maybe they won’t go into Taiwan.”
He continued, “History repeats itself, for good and bad. We tend to forget the lessons of the past. Appeasement of evil never turns out very well, and we’ve done that for too long when it comes to Putin.”
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.