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European Parliament declares Russia “state sponsor of terrorism”

The European Parliament has declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” for the “brutal and inhumane” acts inflicted on Ukraine and its citizens since the launch of the invasion.

“The deliberate attacks and atrocities perpetrated by the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian civilian population, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law constitute acts of terror against the Ukrainian population and constitute war crimes,” he added. MEPs said in a non-binding but highly symbolic resolution.

“In light of the above, (the European Parliament) recognizes Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism.”

The strongly worded resolution was approved by an overwhelming majority on Wednesday afternoon with 494 votes for, 58 against and 44 abstentions, during the monthly plenary session in Strasbourg.

The text merged three different resolutions tabled by the European People’s Party (EPP), Renew Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.

In the final version, MEPs denounce Russia’s “illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression” against Ukraine and accuse the Russian army and its proxies of having committed a long list of crimes, such as murder of “thousands” of civilians and “hundreds” of children, attacks on essential infrastructure, summary executions, kidnappings, rapes, harassment, torture, mass detentions and forced deportations.

“These brutal and inhumane acts cause death, suffering, destruction and displacement,” the MPs said, noting the nearly 40,000 war crimes that have so far been documented in Ukraine.

Lawmakers also condemned Russia for causing a “full-scale” humanitarian crisis in Mariupol and “weaponizing” food and hunger, with global implications.

These “atrocities”, said MEPs, are aimed at terrorizing the Ukrainian people, stifling their resistance and forcing them to accept the “occupying power” and its attempt to illegally annex sovereign territory.

“Russia poses a risk to the safety and security of the entire European continent and the rules-based international order,” the resolution reads.

As a result of all this, the European Parliament calls on EU Member States to develop a brand new legal framework that can allow the designation of an entire country as a sponsor of terrorism, which is currently not possible.

“At the moment the European Union does not have such regulations like, for example, the Americans, who have a special law on the designation of states that support terrorism,” said Andrius Kubilius, one of the MEPs behind the resolution. told Euronews.

But Balázs Hidvéghi, a Hungarian MEP from Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, said the bloc should focus on peace and a ceasefire “as soon as possible”.

The EU’s terrorist list, which was drawn up in the aftermath of 9/11 and is reviewed every six months, only allows the bloc to blacklist specific individuals and organizations.

So far, only 13 individuals and 21 entities have been added, such as Hamas, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) and the armed wing of Hezbollah.

As a foreign policy tool, any change to the list would require the unanimity of all 27 EU countries.

“Russia’s action in Ukraine speaks for itself,” a European Commission spokesperson said, citing a long list of crimes. “These are not actions of a civilized state, but belong to the arsenal of terror. So, essentially, Russia is already designating itself in the eyes of the international community.”

This is not the first time that a European parliament has called Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. The national chambers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic had previously voted to apply similar designations.

“We note that some countries have designated Russia as a terrorist state,” the Commission spokesman added. “However, the EU does not have a legal framework in place to designate a third country as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’.”

In addition to the new legal framework, the European Parliament demands “complete” international isolation of Russia, a further reduction in diplomatic relations and a new round of EU sanctions.

“Contacts with its officials at all levels (should) be limited to the strict minimum necessary,” the lawmakers said.

The resolution comes days after Russia launched a new barrage of attacks against Ukraine’s key infrastructure, raising fears of a mass exodus of people ahead of the winter season.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the text and said that Russia must be “held accountable in order to end its long-standing terrorist policy in Ukraine and around the world”.

This article has been updated to include new details and reactions.


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