White House responds to petition asking to designate Russia as state sponsor of terrorism



Article by: Mat Babiak

On April 23 of this year a petition was started on U.S. government portal We the People, a tool to make issues and concerns clear to the Obama administration. The petition called for the U.S. to designate Russia legally as a state sponsor of terrorism, and just recently crossed the 100,000 signature threshold to warrant an official response. The response from the White House, however, skirts around the issue of designating Russia officially as a terrorist state, and instead lists the current sanctions imposed on Russia for its current war waged on Ukraine. This message in a subtle way illustrates that the U.S. and its international partners have imposed three of the four types of sanctions one would impose on a state sponsor of terror, stopping short of the full suite of sanctions – the missing category being restricting controls over exports of dual use items.

The following is the official response:

Thank you for your petition.

The Secretary of State has the authority to determine which countries have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism and so designate them as “state sponsors of terrorism” pursuant to three laws: Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, Section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and Section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. 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. Currently, four countries are so designated: Syria, Cuba, Iran, and Sudan.

We remain deeply concerned by Russia’s continuing destabilizing actions in eastern Ukraine and its ongoing failure to fulfill the commitments to which it agreed in Minsk. We are also very concerned that, according to a U.N. report published in mid-November, Russia’s noncompliance and ongoing aggressive actions continue to result in fatalities — military and civilian — in eastern Ukraine, with an average of 13 per day.

In response to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, including its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, the United States and its international partners have imposed sanctions in Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors. Dozens of senior Russian officials, members of President Putin’s inner circle, and other individuals materially or financially supporting actions undermining or threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence are now subject to asset freezes and travel bans. The United States and our G-7 partners are no longer supporting development finance for Russia.

We have repeatedly made it clear that President Putin has a choice. If he is willing to find a lasting settlement to the conflict within the context of the Minsk agreements and without setting unreasonable conditions, sanctions could be rolled back. If Russia continues to flout its commitments and continues its dangerous and destabilizing actions, then the costs to Russia will continue to rise.

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  1. Avatar Vlad Pufagtinenko says:


  2. Avatar Adrian S says:

    Can’t help not to notice that they didn’t respond to the petition’s main request in any way, shape or form. This is disturbing, I’ve seen many responses of the White House and they’re usually very direct, giving legislative/constitutional reasons why a certain petition cannot be carried out or explaining the adverse effects if the petition is implemented in case it is out of the scope of a particular law. With this one, they only provided platitudes… Russia has met the legislative conditions for that law to be applied. And the US can’t do nothing about it because of how complex the ramifications will be if they apply all the measures of declaring Russia a terrorist state.

    1. Avatar Mat says:

      It was a very nonchalant way of responding indirectly.

      “State sponsorship of terrorism results in sanctions 1,2,3,4; the following countries have this designation. In response to Russia’s actions, we have imposed 1, 2, and 4.”

      I’m not happy with the response but I see what they did there.

      1. Avatar Adrian S says:

        The measures applied can’t amount to a full imposition of 1, 2 and 4, to be honest.

        Russia gave the west no chance to use the same coin. Military intervention is not an option. Everybody knows it. The west’s sanctions give Russia no chance to fight back, now. But applying that piece of legislation would have more direct effects.

        I was hopping for more to be done and for the measures to be prompt.

  3. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

    So far ! I think this answer is in the right directions ! PATIENCE is the word !
    63 is the joke for 2015. Soon 24 days and I am thinking of who is going to admit putin as an externaly displaced person ? (there is a town called Novorossia in the Far East)
    Photo (# say sorry to be born#)

  4. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

    Sorry, small mistake in text. It should be “the us and our G6 partners”

  5. Avatar Bonnie McCollett says:

    Putin knows Obama is weak and indecisive, that’s why he’s chosen this time to do this.

  6. Avatar Milton Devonair says:

    obama is a racist, useless chicago political thug. He will only help anyone if they can somehow help him or further his pro-black agenda. That’s why he immediately sends troops and materiel to africa, yet ignores Ukraine or the Kurds.

    Those people are a disease in American and most of us are embarrassed about him. More than half of this country didn’t vote for him and many of those that did, regret it.

    Soon conservatives will be running our ‘rada’ and hopefully we will be able to better help Ukraine.