The US Congress is working to quickly introduce a bill condemning Russia as an "aggressor state" against the background of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's upcoming visit to Washington today, the "Hill" reported, quoted by BTA.

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Such a determination would give President Joe Biden new powers to impose sanctions on Russian officials.

However, an advisor from the Republican Party in the House of Representatives described the bill as a "half-hearted response" to Zelensky's request that the United States designate Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism."

The "state sponsor of terrorism" label would isolate Moscow internationally and force the US to hold countries that engage with the Kremlin accountable.

The Biden administration rejected such a definition, saying it would tie the US's hands in relations with Russia more generally and take away the administration's ability to make any diplomatic efforts to end the Kremlin's war on Ukraine. 

"We are currently working with Congress on legislation that would help us get around some of the challenges of using the 'state sponsor of terrorism' designation, which ... has some unintended consequences," Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a television interview. CNN earlier this month.

The project is being negotiated between the administration and congressional leadership, aides to congressional Republicans told The Hill, who said the initiative would not lead to any serious consequences for Moscow.  

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"Zelensky demanded that (Russia) be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, and instead the Biden administration said they would not support that, and they came up with an alternative definition that doesn't even exist in US domestic or international law -- there is no legal basis for it," a congressman's aide familiar with the negotiations told the American publication.

He added that "this is a half-hearted PR measure that will not achieve anything to punish Russia, nor will it help the Ukrainian people."

United States-based pro-Ukraine NGOs criticized the bill.

"Although the US government, Congress and President Biden have done much to support Ukraine, the proposal to (designate Russia an) 'aggressor state' is counterproductive and should not be accepted," they wrote in a joint statement.

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