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.
Zelensky, meanwhile, issued a fresh call on Friday for European Union member nations to impose a visa ban on Russian nationals, accusing them of being potential “killers or accomplices of state terror.”
“There must be guarantees that Russian killers or accomplices of state terror not use Schengen visas,” he said in a nightly address, referring to visas granting the holder access to the border-free Schengen Area that spans several EU states.
“Secondly, we must not destroy the very idea of Europe – our common European values,” he added. “Europe must therefore not be transformed into a supermarket where it is not important who walks in and where the main thing is that people just pay for their goods.”
Zelensky’s appeal was strongly slammed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who emphasized that “any attempt to isolate Russians or Russia is a process that has no prospects.”
The comedian-turned-president then went on to say that his proposal did not apply to Russians who needed help for risking their freedom or their lives by resisting Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s policies.
Zelensky initially called for a visa ban earlier in the week during an interview with the US-based Washington Post daily, insisting that Russians should live in their own world until they changed their philosophy.
His unprecedented demand, however, has yet to win support from the EU’s major players, according to European media outlets, though he praised the support of three ex-Soviet Baltic States and the Czech Republic, which currently serves as EU’s rotating president. Finland has also backed the idea.
Source: Agencies (editted by Al-Manar English Website)