It’s time we declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism

Since February 24, the Russian army has killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and continues to commit acts of mass terror in the occupied territories and territories controlled by the Ukrainian government. With the participation of international investigators, Ukraine has already documented more than 34,000 war crimes committed by the Russian Federation.

The seriousness of these crimes, which include the discovery of mass graves in towns like Izium, increased civilian casualties, extrajudicial executions, acts of torture, rape and sexual violence, forced deportation of children and disappearances forced, was confirmed by the United Nations Independent Human Rights Commission.

According to international laws and declarations, States Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) are those whose governments have “repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism”, terrorism being characterized as “premeditated and politically motivated violence perpetrated against unintended targets”. fighters”. Given the dire situation on the ground in Ukraine, Russia most certainly meets the above criteria.

If the EU were to label Russia a terrorist state, it would likely deter any reputable international entity from doing business with Russia.

While Russia’s recognition as an SST is a US-focused designation, other countries in the sanctions coalition, including the European Union, must issue legally binding statements or pass resolutions that hold Russia responsible for its terrorist acts and alienate its financial and political institutions. the influence of the rest of the world.

In July, the Russian state budget had a deficit of 30%, suggesting that the financial resources for the war against Ukraine are running out. While some companies have been able to circumvent sanctions policies so far, if the EU labeled Russia a terrorist state, it would likely deter any reputable international entity from doing business with Russia. This would prevent Russia from expanding its war chest by profiting from international goods and technology, while increasing economic and political pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Our heroes in Ukraine are fighting not only for the integrity of the Ukrainian land, but for the freedom of Europe as a whole. EU support and cooperation is crucial to help minimize Russia’s ability to fund its terrible war against Ukraine and prevent it from spilling over into NATO territory – an undesirable outcome for all.

Over the past month, Russian troops have withdrawn significantly from Kyiv and moved away from the Kharkiv region. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are also fighting victorious battles in Donetsk, Luhansk and the southern region. Yes, this progress is a consequence of the professionalism of the Ukrainian army and the prolonged artillery assistance from the West, but it is also the result of effective sanctions policies that drain Russia’s economy and budget. . Cutting Russia off from the global financial system is working, but we need to do more.

Cutting Russia off from the global financial system is working, but we need to do more.

If the EU holds Russia responsible for its terrorist acts, the courts could also seek to award monetary compensation to victims of terrorism and to confiscate the diplomatic assets of the Russian Federation. This will provide an opportunity to isolate Russian-owned properties and state-controlled businesses and apply secondary sanctions to EU countries and individuals who still cooperate with Russian entities.

What are the risks of the EU legally labeling the Russian Federation as a terrorist state? This could possibly lead to further diplomatic and economic deterioration between Russia and the EU, whereby Russia will continue to arm the EU’s energy supply. Russia attacked Ukraine because it was convinced that the EU would be too divided and dependent on Russian energy to act. Despite Russia’s attempts to sow division and put pressure on European households with high energy bills, Member States have taken the necessary steps to reduce their dependence on Russian gas by diversifying supplies, reducing gas consumption and quickly filling the gas tanks.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said it quite rightly in her State of the Union address: “Russia has started this war not only against Ukraine. It is a war against our energy, against our economy, against our values. It is a war against our future”. Officially labeling Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism remains the only appropriate and proportionate response to Putin’s barbarism against Ukraine, its people and potentially Europe at large.

This is the firm stance taken by the International Russia Sanctions Task Force, also known as the Yermak-McFaul Group. Since its creation at the beginning of this year, the Group has highlighted the importance of this step in its action plan and has focused on this recommendation in its fifth working paper.

The Panel’s experts, including myself, call on the European Parliament, European institutions and the governments of the United States, Canada and other countries of the sanctions coalition to officially label the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism .

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