State Department Resisting Adding Russia to Terrorist State List

For weeks, pressure has been mounting on the U.S. State Department to formally declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. But the Biden administration and the State Department have been weary of making the designation. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry weighed into the matter on Tuesday, saying that if Russia is labeled a state sponsor of terrorism, it would result in the breaking of diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter: “Make no mistake, if Washington decides to suspend its ties with Moscow, we can live with it.” 

It comes in response to the U.S. Senate passing a nonbinding resolution that called on the Secretary of State Antony Blinken to add Russia to a list of state sponsors of terrorism. 

In a briefing on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the designation would result in the end of diplomatic relations. 

“Washington runs the risk of finally crossing the point of no return with all the ensuing consequences,” Zakharova said

The label is currently reserved for North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Iran. 

The U.S. Senate supports adding Russia to the list unanimously, as does House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Ukrainian Parliament. 

But despite the emotional appeal, Blinken is resisting a move that could force him to sanction U.S. allies that do business with Russia and might snuff out the remaining vestiges of diplomacy between Washington and Moscow.

U.S. Senate last week unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution calling on Blinken to designate Russia as a terrorism sponsor for its attacks in Ukraine, as well as in Chechnya, Georgia, and Syria, that resulted “in the deaths of countless innocent men, women, and children.”

Blinken responded noncommittally about the calls for adding Russia to the list. He repeated other State Department and White House officials’ statements, saying that any decision must be based on existing legal definitions. He also suggested that the point was moot because Russia was already under many sanctions.

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