The White House said on Tuesday that President Biden has decided not to designate Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism” despite pressure from Congress to slap the label on Moscow.
When asked by reporters on Monday if he would make the designation, Biden simply replied, “no.” Following up on his comment, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that labeling Russia a state sponsor of terror was “not the most effective or strongest path forward.”
She said the designation could hamper aid deliveries in parts of Ukraine and jeopardize the grain deal between Russia and Ukraine that was brokered by Turkey and the UN.
Congress has been pushing hard for the designation, and the Senate passed a resolution that called for the administration to take the step, but the resolution was non-binding.
Currently, only Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria are labeled by the State Department as state sponsors of terror, which expands sanctions against the targeted nations. Cuba was removed from the list by the Obama administration but was re-designated by the Trump administration in one of its last foreign policy moves.
Since Russia is already under so many sanctions, the designation would have little impact on Moscow. But it would signal that US-Russia relations won’t be repaired for years to come as such designations are usually difficult to reverse.