The European Parliament has declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” and stated that Moscow’s “intentional attacks and atrocities” in Ukraine violate human rights and international humanitarian law.
European lawmakers passed the resolution on Wednesday with 494 votes in favour, 58 against and 44 abstentions.
“The intentional attacks and atrocities committed by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law constitute acts of terrorism,” the resolution states.
The EP plenary voted 🗳️ and declared 🇷🇺 Russia a state sponsor of terrorism
🎥 Watch and download the voting video: https://t.co/rtimidIhST pic.twitter.com/qgfwl6u9pt
— European Parliament Audiovisual Service (@europarlAV) November 23, 2022
However, the move is largely symbolic, as the European Union has no legal framework to back it up.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the vote and said: “Russia must be isolated and held accountable at all levels.”
Zelensky urged the United States and other countries to follow suit as he accused Moscow of targeting civilians, a claim that Russia denies.
I welcome @Europarl_EN’s decision to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that uses means of terrorism. Russia must be isolated and held accountable at all levels to end its long-standing terrorist policy in Ukraine and around the world.
— (@ZelenskyyUa) November 23, 2022
The EU, US and UK have already imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has so far refused to add Russia to a list of “terrorism,” although he has been called upon to do so in resolutions in both chambers of Congress.
Currently, the US State Department regards Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria as “state sponsors of terrorism,” meaning they are subject to a defense export ban and financial restrictions.
Four EU members — Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland — have so far described Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” according to the European Parliament’s research service.