The designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States would result in the breaking of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
"Make no mistake, if Washington decides to suspend its ties with Moscow, we can live with it," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter in response to the US Senate passing a nonbinding resolution calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to add Russia to a list of state sponsors of terrorism. The decision to add a country to the list is made by the secretary of state.
"Washington runs the risk of finally crossing the point of no return with all the ensuing consequences."Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a briefing on Tuesday that the result of the designation would be the end of diplomatic relations, according to Russian state media outlet TASS.
"Washington runs the risk of finally crossing the point of no return with all the ensuing consequences," Zakharova said, reported TASS.
The bipartisan Senate resolution
The bipartisan resolution identifying Russia as a sponsor of terrorism passed Thursday after being introduced by US Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).
“All 100 members of the United States Senate are urging the Biden Administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism…I didn’t think there was an issue under the sun that could get 100 Senate votes, but we found it: Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism,” said Graham in response to the resolution's passing. “By the end of 2022, I want Russia to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism under US law."
"By the end of 2022, I want Russia to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism under US law."US Senator Lindsey Graham
“This designation is more than just symbolism – it has practical significance," said Blumenthal. "I join in urging the [Biden] administration to heed this call…on this point, Americans are united."
The New York Times reported on Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is resisting adopting the designation. According to Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Blinken that if he didn't take action, that Congress would. A bipartisan congressional group is set to introduce similar legislation to that passed in the Senate.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that the deaths of dozens of prisoners in a Russian-controlled jail showed that there should be legal recognition that Russia was a state sponsor of terrorism. The Ukrainian parliament drafted a bill in May calling for the United States to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
"I am appealing especially to the United States of America. A decision is needed and it is needed now," Zelensky said in a Friday video address, according to Reuters.
Blumenthal noted on Thursday that he would like to present a framed copy of the senate resolution to Zelensky.
“All 100 members of the United States Senate are urging the Biden Administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism."Senator Lindsey Graham
When a country is listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, having "repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism," US foreign assistance is restricted; it is banned from US defense and exports sales; controls over dual-use items are implemented; and other financial restrictions are leveled.
Currently, only Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria are on the list of state terrorism sponsors.
On Tuesday, the Russian Supreme Court designated the controversial Ukrainian Azov Battalion as a terrorist organization.Reuters contributed to this report.