Republican hawk claims that Russian activist Alexey Navalny was “murdered” and the country must be punished for that © Drew Angerer / Getty Images

US Senator Lindsey Graham has claimed that the passing of the opposition figure Alexey Navalny in a Siberian prison was not an accident, before medical examiners have determined the exact cause of death.

Navalny, 47, collapsed during his daily walk on Friday and was later pronounced dead. The cause of death is still being established, but Western reactions “once again demonstrated their hypocrisy, cynicism and lack of principles,” the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said. On Sunday, Senator Graham, who on several occasions called for the assassination of President Vladimir Putin, went as far as to pin the blame on the Russian leader personally.

“Let’s make Russia a state sponsor of terrorism under US law. Let’s make them pay a price for killing Navalny,” Graham told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, claiming that he already discussed the idea with two Democratic senators.

Russian Foreign Ministry comments on Western reactions to Navalny’s death Russian Foreign Ministry comments on Western reactions to Navalny’s death

Moscow previously said that any effort to blacklist Russia as a supporter of terrorism would mark a “point of no return” in relations with the US, asking Washington to t

Currently only Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria are on Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, and a bill seeking to add Russia to the list could be introduced within a week, Graham claimed.

However, all previous attempts to push through such an initiative flopped. If ever signed into law, the measure would further cut already virtually nonexistent US defense and technology exports to Russia and impose additional financial restrictions atop an existing pile of sanctions. It would also eliminate Russia’s sovereign immunity in Washington’s eyes, allowing the families of victims of alleged “state-sponsored” terrorism to sue Russia in US courts. (RT)