A day after US legislators submitted bipartisan legislation urging the country to label Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Biden administration underlined its opposition to the idea on Wednesday.
Ned Price, spokesman for the State Department, stated during a news briefing that the administration was opposed to the action due to “unintended consequences,” including possible costs to the humanitarian help provided to Ukrainians.
“We are engaging with Congress on tools that would continue to have analogous implications for the Russian economy, for the Russian government, that would not have those unintended consequences,” Price said.
He added: “We have to take into account the consequences, both the intended and the unintended. And that has led us to the approach we’ve taken here.”
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre stated last week that President Joe Biden has made a definitive decision against it, despite the fact that Ukraine has vigorously sought for Russia to be labeled as a state supporter of terrorism.
“It is not the most effective or strongest path forward,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “This designation could have unintended consequences to Ukraine and the world,” she added, pointing to food exports and ship movement through the Black Sea.
Russia has officially cautioned the Biden administration against making the designation, claiming that it may completely sever diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Two US senators introduced a non-binding resolution to name Russia for its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
Bypassing the State Department and the administration, the two senators, Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal, unveiled new legislation on Wednesday with the goal of designating Russia as a state supporter of terrorism.
By designating a nation, the US can impose additional sanctions, limit its access to US international aid, prohibit the export and sale of defense products, among other actions.
There are only four nations that the US has identified as supporting terrorism: Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Cuba.