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Speaker Pelosi urges President Biden to label Russia a terrorism sponsor

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has pressed Defense Secretary Anthony Blinken to explicity label Russia as a sponsor or terrorism, or face action from Congress.

According to Politico, who cited two sources close to Pelosi, Pelosi said: “There’s no legal reason Congress could not pass legislation to effectively designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. Congress passing legislation is obviously a more complicated route than the secretary making the designation, but it would give the administration the political cover it needs to escalate economic pressure and rhetoric against Putin.”

At the time of writing, the only countries designated as terrorism sponsors are Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Iran, per the New York Post.

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a bipartisan solution in May which pressed Blinken to add Russia to this list.

“Putin is a terrorist, and one of the most disruptive forces on the planet is Putin’s Russia,” Graham said back in May. “Putin’s Russia deserves this designation. We should be all-in on making sure that Putin’s Russia is marginalized as long as they engage in this behavior.”

More recently, Graham Tweeted to support Nancy Pelosi’s sentiments. “One of the rare times I agree with @SpeakerPelosi.”

“I appreciate her strong statement that Putin’s Russia should immediately be labeled a state sponsor of terrorism and agree that Congress should act on this matter if the Administration fails to do so,” the South Carolina Republican said. “There will be near-unanimous support in the Senate if we vote.”

Graham added, “As to Secretary Blinken: what more does Russia have to do before they are labeled a terrorist state? Act now. It will matter.”

Ned Price, who is a State Department spokesperson told the press in April that the Biden administration was considering whether to label Russia as a sponsor of terrorism. “The sanctions we have in place and have taken are the same steps that would be entailed by the designation of a state sponsor of terrorism,” Price said.

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