Biden administration resists Congress push for calling Russia 'sponsor of terrorism'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference at the US State Department on July 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is resisting a Congress push for declaring Russia as a sponsor of terrorism, over the conflict in Ukraine.

The US Senate unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution calling on Blinken to designate Russia as a terrorism sponsor on Wednesday.

Blinken, however, responded noncommittally to the request, saying any decision must be based on existing legal definitions.

He said Washington has already hit Moscow with unprecedented sanctions.

“The costs that have been imposed on Russia by us and by other countries are absolutely in line with the consequences that would follow from designation as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Blinken said. “So the practical effects of what we’re doing are the same.”

Over the course of the war in Ukraine, the US and its Western allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions against Russia and supplied billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Vlodymir  Zelensky has also been calling on Washington to declare Russia as a state sponsor of terror.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned earlier this month that designating Russia as a state sponsor of terror would have “negative consequences” for the already fractured bilateral ties.

Analysts also said that designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism could completely sever the already constrained diplomatic ties between the two world powers.

Such a measure would also limit the Joe Biden administration’s ability to exempt some transactions with Russia from Western penalties, according to experts.

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