It’s mind-boggling that the issue of designating Moscow as a state sponsor of terrorism is even on the agenda, Dmitry Peskov has said
Moscow welcomes US President Joe Biden’s opposition to designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
“Of course, it’s a good thing that the US president said ‘no‘,” Peskov told the business outlet RBK, referring to Biden’s response to a question he was asked while speaking to reporters at the White House about whether he believes Russia should be branded a state sponsor of terrorism.
“This question is absurd just for being asked.,” he said, adding that the existence of such an issue is “very difficult to wrap one’s mind around.”
However, the official cautioned that the statement by the US leader cannot be taken to mean Washington is adopting a more tolerant stance towards Russia in the ongoing Ukraine conflict. Nor would he link Biden’s statement to the recent visit of inspectors from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant.
Two US senators – Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – had previously urged Biden to endorse such a move in order to ramp up pressure on Moscow.
It would also include financial restrictions and controls on dual-use exports. Only four states are listed as being state sponsors for terrorism at the moment: North Korea (Iran), Cuba and Syria.
Moscow has warned that such a step would mark “There is no point in returning” in relations between the two countries. In August, Aleksandr Darichev, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North American Department, signaled that the label would entail “The most severe collateral damage to bilateral relations is downgrading their status and possibly the end of any ties altogether..”
The US State Department seems to also be opposed. In August, Politico reported that the agency quietly approached congressional offices, warning that the designation could derail the Ukrainian grain deal and impact Washington’s remaining economic ties with Moscow.
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