US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is resisting branding Russia a “terrorist state” over its invasion of Ukraine, despite support for the move by the US Senate and House, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The report said pressure has mounted on Blinken for weeks to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
On Wednesday, the US Senate unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution calling on Blinken to designate Russia as a terrorism sponsor for its brutal military campaign in Ukraine. The US House was also gearing up for a vote on a similar resolution, the newspaper said.
The US terrorist state label is currently reserved for North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Iran. If Russia were added to the list, it would result in further sanctions. It could also force the US to sanction allies that do business with Russia and may end the limited remaining diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow, according to The Times.
Speaking at a Thursday news conference, Blinken said a decision on the matter must be based on existing legal definitions, but he also suggested the point was moot because Russia was already under heavy sanctions, the report said.
“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 was cited as saying.
“So the practical effects of what we’re doing are the same,” he added.
Since Russia invaded on February 24, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pleaded that Western nations designate it as a terrorist state, in addition to harsh sanctions.