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Is Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism?

VDV Russia
Russia's VDV Forces. Image Credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The U.S. is considering declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism for the war crimes and other atrocities Russian troops are committing in Ukraine.

In addition to the unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, Russia and its forces have committed heinous war crimes against Ukrainian civilians and troops. The U.S. has already formally declared that Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine.

What Is A State Sponsor of Terrorism? 

According to the State Department, countries that are determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism can be designated as states sponsor of terrorism in accordance with three U.S. laws (section1754((c)) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961), and suffer sanctions.

“Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions. Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors,” the State Department states.

In addition, if the U.S. goes forward with it and designates Russian a state sponsor of terrorism, any company, individual, or state that wins a court judgment against Moscow could access blocked or frozen Russian assets.

Designating a country as a state sponsor of terrorism falls to the State Department and Congress.

As of 2022, there are four countries designated as states sponsor of terrorism: Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Iran, and Syria.

Syria has the dubious honor of being the first country on the list when it was designated in 1979. Cuba (came out in 2015 but reinserted in 2021) and Iraq came next in 1982 (Iraq was removed and reinserted until finally coming out in 2004), followed by Iran in 1984 and Sudan in 1993 (it came out in 2020). North Korea brings up the rear when it entered the list in 2017.

An Ongoing Debate 

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the atrocities committed by the Russian forces against Ukrainian civilians, the U.S. is considering labeling Russia a purveyor of state-sponsored terrorism.

“For a country to be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Secretary of State would have to determine that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. And only four countries have been designated to date — right? — Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria. The designation is defined by statute, meaning Congress has written into law the exact criteria under which a state would qualify as a state sponsor of terrorism,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

The Ukrainian government and President Volodymyr Zelensky have already asked for the U.S. to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

When asked about a potential designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson, said that “We are going to look at all potential options – options that are available to us under the law, options that would be effective in holding Russia to account – and if a tool is available and effective, we won’t hesitate to use it.”

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.



  1. from Russia with love

    April 20, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    This is some kind of theater of the absurd. a country that has killed several million people in the Middle East, a country that has used chemical and nuclear weapons against civilians, a country that has killed hundreds of thousands in Asia, a country whose intelligence agencies have trained Osama bin Ladan and regularly funded the bloodiest regimes, and this country says it will decide who sponsors terrorism!
    it’s good that now the opinion of the United States is less and less interesting to others;)

  2. From Russia Z, Love

    April 20, 2022 at 3:43 pm

    The half swastika is really a Z and not a half swastika .
    The Z on Russian tanks , means from Russia with love and shells.

  3. Alex

    April 21, 2022 at 12:05 am

    The USA can announce whatever they want, just like their crazy old master.

    However, in this case, processes will be launched to recognize the terrorist actions of the United States in dozens of countries around the world. no one has forgotten the lie with washing powder from Colin Powell and much more.

    Also, Russia, unlike the United States, collects evidence on the fact of terrorism in Ukraine and will present them in court.
    And, of course, the US hysteria is quite understandable: soon the whole world will know about the biological weapons that the US developed in more than 30 biological laboratories in Ukraine and how they performed experiments on patients in psychiatric hospitals in Ukraine.

    Washing off is not possible. shifting the blame to others is not going to work. You have to answer to the whole world. It is unlikely that even vassals will protect the number one terrorist in the world – the United States.

  4. Bertram

    April 21, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    Russia is not just a state sponsor of terrorism.
    Russia has become a terrorist state, and the world is shifting towards the goal of regime change in Russia.

    Outreach to alternatives to Putin within Russia has already begun. and the daily grinding of the Russian military will support those efforts.

    The sanctions haven’t even truly hit yet, as the Russian economy is expected to contract 10-20% in the next year, as the same time that Russia will need to devote an increasing percentage of revenues to military spending. That math on that simply doesn’t work.

    In the war between Russia and the Ukranian people, Russia is doomed to not just fail to achieve their goals, but to actually lose. Few would have predicted this just a month ago.

    Putin will likely end up dead or “missing”, and so is unlikely to necessitate an awkward war crimes trial. His absence will make it easier for the new powers in Russia to simply shift total responsibility to him.

    Putin is not going to survive this.

    • Olga

      July 5, 2022 at 10:02 am

      Russia has been a state sponsor of Terrorists for Decades,not only that Russia is now a Terrorist State and will be out cast for 200 years for Putins insane actions in Ukrain committing atrocities war crimes and genocide in thousands of instances.Russia are a vile vulgar abominable vile repulsive race of evil black hearted SCUM all tarred with the same brush.

  5. Alex

    April 21, 2022 at 11:39 pm

    Who is the terrorist…

    So, the Anglo-Saxons waged wars throughout their history, attacking weaker countries under the pretext of first “white master”, then “democracy”. So many millions of people have not yet been destroyed by anyone. It was the Anglo-Saxons who were the only ones in the world who dropped nuclear bombs on cities with civilians. Further, cluster bombs, napalm, depleted uranium shells were used (only because of it, many children in Serbia still get cancer).

    As for Ukraine, this is the systematic transformation of the country into anti-Russia. Since 1991. Further, since 2014, there was a pinnacle – the glorification of Bandera Nazis. How many Ukrainians in Donbas were killed by these Bandera bastards, children and women were tortured.

    And like a cherry on a cake: in the USA, the satanic church of LaVey announced its full support for the Bandera bloody regime in Ukraine. More facts? No, I don’t think even that is enough.

  6. CK

    April 29, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    Ah, I see your tactic. You add a little shitty first paragraph so it doesn’t detect your duplicate post. Is this what it has come to now, you just posting the same exact post 2, 3, 4, 5 times per article?

    Wow, did they run out of paper in Russia, Alex? You guys can’t print new material? Literally using the same lines, over and over again, and now in duplicate in every post!

    Are you so defeated you can’t even come up with anything new? How sad. Now the idiot is talking about lend-lease at the end of his post, because he literally just copy + pasted it from another thread, with zero relevance to this one.

    Here’s a reminder:

    If someone wanted to know the truth about anything in Ukraine Alex, the last person they would go to is you.

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study your “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

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