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23 Nov, 2022 14:06

Russia is not ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ – US ambassador

The country does not fit America’s criteria for such a designation, according to Washington’s envoy for global criminal justice
Russia is not ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ – US ambassador

The US cannot designate Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism” since it does not fit the relevant criteria, the US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack, told a briefing on Tuesday. She was commenting on a similar initiative by European lawmakers.

The EU parliament adopted a resolution calling Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” on Wednesday.

“The designation of a state sponsor of terror in terms of the way US law defines it is not a good match for Russia here,” Van Schaack told journalists. She added that Washington is currently “exploring other potential designations” that would allow it to potentially impose further sanctions on Moscow.

According to Van Schaack, such a label would not be necessary since the US is already “utilizing our sanctions to an incredible degree.”

The non-binding resolution by the EU parliament was supported by 494 MEPs while 58 voted against and 44 abstained. The text stressed that Russia’s attacks on “the civilian population of Ukraine [and] the destruction of civilian infrastructure” amounted to “war crimes” and “acts of terror.” 

The document also called on Brussels to develop a relevant legal framework allowing it to officially brand entire nations as sponsors of terrorism, adding that it is currently not possible.

The resolution also demanded what it called the “comprehensive international isolation” of Russia, including the further reduction of diplomatic relations and the swift adoption of a new round of sanctions. “Contacts with its official representatives at all levels (should) be kept to the absolute minimum necessary,” the document stated.

On Tuesday, Van Schaack said the US is “very interested in what the Europeans are doing,” adding that such a resolution “carries great weight.” The EU parliament's document is largely symbolic as it does not impose any legal commitments on Brussels.

On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry blasted any such designations as a way for the West to legitimize “unilateral coercive measures” against their perceived adversaries.

“A number of nations representing the ‘collective West’ use such labels as a ‘terrorist state,’ ‘terrorist regime’ or a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ to designate those nations [they consider] ‘unwelcome’ and not fitting their warped perceptions of democracy,” Ivan Nechayev, the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department, told the Russian media.