U.S. is taking ‘a close look’ at whether to label Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. Here’s what that means
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration recently considered labeling Russia as a state sponsor for terrorism, while the international community looks for new ways to put economic pressure on Moscow.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr ZelenskyyAsk the U.S. President Joe BidenThe two leaders agreed to declare Russia as a state sponsor o terrorist acts during a recent telephone call. The Washington Post reports that Biden did not agree to Zelenskyy’s request. However, he also didn’t deny the request.
Both the State Department of the United States and the White House have made it clear that they are closely reviewing the rules for designating Russia as a state sponsor or terrorist.
They also pointed out that Russia has already received the sanctions from the State Sponsor of Terror label (embargoes on arms, restrictions on trade, and suspensions in foreign aid) which raises doubts as to what this terror designation might actually achieve.
“The sanctions we have in place and have taken are the same steps that would be entailed by the designation of a state sponsor of terrorism,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday. He said that he would be looking at any potential authorities. This is one of them.”
The U.S. has a number of sanctions that can be used to punish countries for sponsoring terrorist acts against civilians.
A country that is a sponsor of terrorist acts must, according to the State Department’s legal description, have “repeatedly supported international terrorism acts.”
Only North Korea, Cuba and Syria are currently on the list. Following regime change, four more countries had been previously included on the list, but were removed from it: Sudan, Libya, South Yemen, South Yemen, now part of Yemen.
Russia would still be considered a state-sponsor of terror if the U.S. did not label it. Vladimir PutinHe and his government are responsible for the brutal war they’re waging against Ukraine.
However, Russia’s present actions in war against ISIS would not be considered acts of state sponsoring terrorism and would probably not merit that label.
Alexander Motyl (Rutgers University political scientist and author of 10 books about history of Russia, Ukraine) said that state sponsorship of terrorist acts is the support of one state for another group.
Motyl explained Tuesday in an interview that “the designation would have clearly applied Russia in 2014 when the Kremlin supported separatists in Donbas and were engaging in acts de violence.” Today, however, those who kill are Russian soldiers wearing uniforms, which is essentially the state.
However, this does not mean that American diplomats will have to search far for instances of Russian state support of terror, he said, pointing out the widely publicized poisoning of dissidents in Russia.
Motyl stated that Russia could prove to be a sponsor of terrorist acts if it was proved. The primary use for the label would be in possible negotiations.
The initial talks between Russia and Ukraine never got to a serious point and have remained stuck for the past few weeks. Russia says Ukraine has changed its demands. However, Ukraine claims that Russian participation was a con to purchase goodwill from the West.
Talks seem to be dead and it’s difficult to envision what Russia could do to add Russia to the state sponsor list for terrorism.
Putin is being accused of being war criminal after he was charged with genocide as well as war crimes. [sponsoring terrorism]It won’t really make a big difference. Motyl said, “Certainly not to him.”