As the Russo-Ukrainian War entered its 52nd day, with relentless bombardment by Moscow of key Ukrainian cities, the war-torn nation’s President Volodymyr Zelenksyy urged the Biden administration to classify Russia as “State sponsor of terrorism,” two people familiar with the subject told NBC News. Zelenskyy made the request during a recent phone call with US President Joe Biden, the sources say.
Sources revealed that the proposal did not carry the same weight as urgent demands for more arms and energy restrictions against Russia.
According to a CNBC report, when asked in March whether the United States would consider designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left an option open for the possibility. On March 17, Blinken remarked, “We are and will look into everything.”
‘State sponsor of terrorism’ designation results in some of US’ worst sanctions
On top of that, designation as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” carries some of the worst sanctions the U.S. government can impose on a country, including limitations on financial transactions, defense exports and sales, and foreign aid. . Russia has already been subjected to significant financial and other sanctions by the Biden administration, including the blockade of about half of its foreign currency reserves. It’s unclear how a classification like this would affect the Russian economy, CNBC reported.
If Biden blacklists Russia as a terrorist sponsor, any company, individual or state that wins a judgment against Russia could seek access to any prohibited or frozen assets of the Russian administration or Russian billionaires, citing some legal experts, CNBC reported.
Putin may use tactical nukes in assault on Ukraine: Zelenskyy
Recently, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy told CNN in an interview on Friday that “every country in the world” must be ready if Russian President Putin uses tactical nuclear weapons in his assault on Ukraine. In the interview, Zelenskyy said Putin might use nuclear or chemical weapons because he doesn’t care about the lives of Ukrainians.
Zelenskyy claimed, “Not just me – everyone, every country should be concerned because this may not be real information, but it may be the truth,” CNN reported.
Additionally, US officials have warned that if Putin is forced to take a stand, he may resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. CIA Director Bill Burns said on Thursday that the agency was “watching this possibility closely”, although he stressed that the United States had seen no evidence that Russia was about to take such a decision.