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Washington moves to brand Russia ‘aggressor state’ – Hill

Earlier, the US resisted Ukraine’s calls to designate the country as a “state sponsor of terrorism”

US lawmakers and officials are working together to introduce a bill to Congress labeling Russia as an “aggressor state” over its military operation in Ukraine, The Hill reported on Tuesday. Critics have called the measure a PR stunt ahead of the visit of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to Washington.

The draft document seen by the outlet would grant US President Joe Biden new powers to sanction any individual who is “responsible for, engaged in or complicit in” Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. It also reportedly says that the president can “designate any foreign country” as an aggressor state if it is engaged in hostile actions against Kiev.

US lawmakers are reportedly scrambling to introduce the measure ahead of the anticipated visit of Zelensky to Washington on Wednesday. The Ukrainian president has repeatedly urged the US to designate Russia as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ to further crack down on Moscow and impose costs on countries that engage with the Kremlin. The Biden administration has rejected the appeal, arguing that it would impede dialogue with Moscow.

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The proposed bill has been widely criticized, The Hill reported. One congressional aide told the outlet that the “alternative designation… doesn’t even exist under US domestic or international law,” and “There is no legal basis for it.”

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The designation ‘aggressor state’ has also been criticized, as the US has already sanctioned hundreds of Russian officials and family members. “It’s a half-baked PR measure that won’t do anything to punish Russia, nor help the Ukrainian people,” the congressional aide said.

Last month, the European Parliament, in a largely symbolic move, designated Russia as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’. In response, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the EU Parliament a “sponsor of idiocy.” 

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Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov dismissed the move, saying the non-binding resolution was adopted as “hatred for Russia is boiling over.” 

In late July, Peskov stated that if the US designates Russia as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’, this would have negative repercussions, but noted that “it is very difficult to spoil relations between Russia and America even further.”

December 21, 2022 at 03:26PM
RT

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