U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. Antony Blinken says the practical effect of sanctions is roughly equivalent to recognizing Russia as a sponsor of terrorism, but the Department of State is still studying this issue.

The consequences of Western sanctions for Russia are almost equal to what it would experience if the U.S. included it in the list of countries sponsoring of terrorism, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday while delivering remarks to the press a the Department of State.

“The costs [due to the sanctions] that we and other countries have [already] imposed on Russia are perfectly consistent with the consequences that would be observed if the list of state sponsors of terrorism.  So the practical effects of what we do are the same, — he emphasized.

According to Mr. Blinken, Washington continues to consider this issue.  “The criteria by which we make this determination are established by Congress.  This is what we are considering. And our job is to look at the established criteria, compare them with the facts, to ensure that the facts in a particular situation actually meet the criteria set forth in the law, — he explained.

The recognition by the United States of any country as a sponsor of terrorism implies severe restrictions imposed on it: a ban on the export of goods for the defense sector, control over the export of dual-use products, financial restrictions, and others.

Also, if a country is recognized as a sponsor of terrorism, the United States can impose sanctions against other countries that maintain trade relations with it.  For now, the United States recognizes Syria, Iran, North Korea and Cuba as such states.

In mid-April, media reports cited Mr. Ned Rise, a spokesman for the US State Department, as saying that Joe Biden's government is considering this possibility of labeling Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism following the request made by Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy. 

According to The Washington Post, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked U.S. President Joe Biden to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism during a phone call between the two leaders.  Biden didn’t commit to Zelenskyy’s request, The Washington Post reported, but he didn’t deny it either.

Since then, both State Department and White House officials have publicly said the United States is looking closely at the rules around designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.