Russia reacts to US 'state sponsor of terrorism threat'
A leading Russian senator has responded to a new proposal from American legislators to brand Moscow a “state sponsor of terrorism,” warning that the idea would weaken cooperation between Moscow and Washington.
“This initiative will undermine dialogue between Russia and the US if it’s adopted,” Sergey Tsekov, who sits in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, told RIA Novosti on Thursday. “It is characteristic of a certain strand of the American political elite.”
Tsekov, a member of the ruling United Russia party, claimed Moscow is only interested in self-defense, adding that his country doesn’t interfere in the affairs of sovereign states and respects other nations’ rights. “And now they’re calling us a sponsor of terrorism,” he complained, insisting Washington is a greater contributor to instability.
He said the American senators’ proposal, which would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine in an effort to contain Moscow, would be paying “not for peace, but for war,” and lamented what he sees as the powerful American government’s propensity for starting conflicts.
“Just the voicing of such proposals makes the situation in Ukraine more difficult, giving support to the ‘party of war,’” he went on.
The lawmaker said he hopes American President Joe Biden will not support the bill. He noted that the US leader recently had a video call with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in which the two agreed to try to find a diplomatic solution to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. He added that he believes there are enough intelligent people working in Biden’s administration to realize that a war in Ukraine would compromise the safety of the US itself “in the context of global security.”
On Wednesday, eight American Republican party senators submitted a bill, speculatively titled the ‘GUARD Act’, containing a range of measures designed to support Kiev. The proposed legislation would authorize an additional $450 million in military aid and impose new sanctions on Nord Stream 2, the recently constructed pipeline that will bring Russian gas to Europe through the Baltic Sea, which Ukraine and the US have strongly opposed.
The bill would also officially designate Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism” if Moscow advances militarily on its eastern European neighbor. In recent weeks, American and Ukrainian intelligence services have accused the Kremlin of “aggressive actions” on the border with Ukraine, including troop buildup, and said they suspected a Russian invasion could be in the works.
Moscow has consistently denied the accusations, calling the reports “American disinformation,” and said pledges to support Ukraine are dangerous because they could push Kiev towards a military solution in the country’s war-torn Donbass region.