Russia warns of severing ties with US if it brands Moscow terror sponsor
Moscow has warned its diplomatic ties with Washington could be broken off should the US brand Russia a "state sponsor of terrorism."
If the US Senate acts on announced plans to single out Russia as such, it would mean Washington has crossed the point of no return, badly damaging – and possibly severing -- ties, said the head of Russian Foreign Ministry’s North American department.
Alexander Darchiyev said Friday if the Senate passes a legislation designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, it would cause "the most serious collateral damage for bilateral diplomatic relations, to the point of downgrading and even breaking them off."
"The American side has been warned," Russia’s official Tass news agency cited the senior Russian as saying.
Two US senators seeking to pass such legislation visited Ukraine’s capital last month to discuss the bill with the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Russia’s neighboring country of Latvia passed a bill Thursday designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism over the persisting war in Ukraine, calling on its Western sponsors to impose more comprehensive sanctions against Moscow.
Late last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also warned against the Senate’s push to declare Russia as a sponsor of terrorism over the conflict in Ukraine after the senators unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution calling on Blinken to designate Russia as such.
Blinken, however, responded noncommittally to the request, saying any decision must be based on existing legal definitions.
“The costs that have been imposed on Russia by us and by other countries are absolutely in line with the consequences that would follow from designation as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Blinken said. “So the practical effects of what we’re doing are the same.”
Over the course of the war in Ukraine, the US and its Western allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions against Russia and supplied billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Ukraine.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov also warned last month that designating Russia as a state sponsor of terror would have “negative consequences” for the already fractured bilateral ties.