US Senators Introduce Bill Designating Russia as State Sponsor of Terrorism

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CD) speak during an interview with Reuters as Russia’s offensive continues in Ukraine, July 7, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Democratic and Republican U.S. senators on Wednesday introduced legislation to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, a label pushed by Ukraine but opposed by President Joe Biden’s administration.

“The need for this action is now more pressing than ever,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, one of the bill’s sponsors, told a news conference, citing the killing of civilians and other “brutal, brutal repression” in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.

Another bill sponsor, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, said the designation would send a strong signal of support for Ukraine to Kiev, but also impose tougher penalties on US allies such as allowing Russia to be sued in US courts for its actions in Ukraine. Severe restrictions.

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It was not immediately clear when the measure might come up for a vote. But the two senators have been advocating for the position for months, visiting Kiev in July to promote it. read more

Other lawmakers have joined them in voicing support for the idea. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in July that the designation was “long overdue.”

Biden has said he plans no such post to Russia. Administration officials say they don’t think the designation is the best way to hold Russia accountable, and that it could impede Ukraine’s delivery of humanitarian aid.

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State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a news conference that the administration was discussing measures with lawmakers similar to those imposed on Russia’s economy. read more

“We have to take into account the intended and unintended consequences” of such a designation, he said. “We are engaged with Congress on instruments that continue to have similar impacts to the Russian economy and to the Russian government that will not have those unintended consequences.”

Moscow has told Washington that adding Russia to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which now includes Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Syria, could seriously damage and even break diplomatic ties.

Blumenthal and Graham’s bill includes a provision that would allow the US president to revoke the designation for national security reasons by certifying to Congress that Russia no longer supports acts of international terrorism.

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Jonathan Lande and Simon Lewis; Editing by Bill Bergrod

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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