US House Republicans Call For Branding Russia State Sponsor Of Terror - Strategy Paper

US House Republicans Call for Branding Russia State Sponsor of Terror - Strategy Paper

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 11th June, 2020) The Republican Study Committee, the largest Republican caucus in the US House of Representatives, published a strategy paper calling for branding Russia a state sponsor of terrorism and imposing sanctions on the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) until it expels Russia from its system.

"The Task Force recommends designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism for its support of the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps], Hezbollah, the Taliban and Russian Imperial Movement," the strategy paper said on Wednesday.

The document accuses Russia of allegedly sponsoring terrorism for arming the Taliban and coordinating with the IRCG and with Lebanon's Hezbollah without offering any evidence.

The strategy paper calls for imposing sanctions on SWIFT until it expels Russia from the international SWIFT code system.

"The United States does not control SWIFT, but it can use its influence to remove Russia from SWIFT through legislation authorizing sanctions on SWIFT itself if it does not expel Russia," the strategy paper said.

The document also calls on Congress to impose secondary sanctions on third parties helping Russian oil and natural gas projects, especially entities supporting the completion of the Nord Stream 2 project.

In addition, Republican lawmakers are recommending imposing sanctions on Russian sovereign debt and new sanctions authority to target what they call "propagators of state-backed disinformation."

Russia has repeatedly denied US allegations of spreading disinformation.

The strategy paper also calls on Congress to require the US Treasury Department to place Vnesheconombank on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list.

It recommends that Congress continue to renew security assistance to Ukraine and expand lethal aid to Kiev to include anti-tank, anti-ship and anti-aircraft defense systems.

Moreover, the strategy paper suggests Congress should strengthen Georgia's readiness and defense capabilities by passing the Georgia Support Act, which mandates a report on how the United States can work with that country to counter alleged Russian disinformation and ensure Georgian security needs.

Congress, the document said, should direct the US State Department to put together a strategy to provide information "directly to the Russian people" in order to lead them to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to force changes in the government.

The Republican lawmakers urge Congress to direct the State Department to produce a report on "Kremlin-connected oligarchs who finance Russian military aggression."

They instruct Congress to request an inter-agency report on so-called Russian influence in key domestic sectors such as energy, logging, banking, technology, retail and agriculture, among others.

Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of aggression and said that it sees US sanctions as manifestation of unfair competition that can only damage bilateral relations.