The European Parliament has declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” because of the “brutal and inhumane” acts against Ukraine and its citizens since the start of the invasion.
“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 terror against the Ukrainian people and constitute war crimes,” MEPs said in a non-binding but symbolic resolution.
“In the light of the foregoing, (the European Parliament) recognizes Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that uses means of terrorism.”
The heavily worded resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority at the monthly plenary session in Strasbourg on Wednesday afternoon with 494 votes in favour, 58 against and 44 abstentions.
text summarized three different resolutions of the European People’s Party (EPP), Renew Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR).
In the final version, MPs denounce Russia’s “illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression” against Ukraine and accuse the Russian army and its representatives of having committed a long list of crimes, including the murder of “thousands” of civilians and “hundreds” of children, attacks on critical infrastructures, summary executions, kidnappings, rapes, harassment, torture, mass arrests, and forced deportations tations.
“These brutal and inhumane acts result in death, suffering, destruction and expulsion,” MEPs said, pointing out the nearly 40,000 war crimes that have been documented in Ukraine so far.
Lawmakers also condemned Russia for causing a “large-scale” humanitarian crisis in Mariupol and “arming” food and hunger with global consequences.
These “atrocities,” according to MEPs, are aimed at terrorizing the Ukrainian population, suppressing their resistance and forcing them to accept the “occupying power” and their attempt to illegally annex sovereign territories.
“Russia poses a risk to the security of the entire European continent and the rules-based international order,” the resolution states.
result of all this, the European Parliament is calling on EU Member States to develop a brand-new legal framework that can make it possible to designate an entire country as a sponsor of terrorism, which is currently not possible.
“There is currently no such rule in the European Union as, for example, the Americans, who have a special law to designate the states that promote terrorism,” Andrius Kubilius, one of the MEPs who drafted the resolution, told CNNBreakingNews.net.
However, Balázs Hidvéghi, a Hungarian MP from Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz Party, said the bloc should focus on achieving peace and a ceasefire “as soon as possible.”
The EU terrorist list, which was created after 9/11 and is reviewed every six months, only allows the bloc to blacklist certain people and organizations.
So far, only 13 people and 21 organizations have been added, including Hamas, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) and the military wing of Hezbollah.
As a foreign policy instrument, any change to the list would require the unanimity of all 27 EU countries.
“Russia’s actions in Ukraine speak for themselves,” said a European Commission spokesperson, citing a long list of crimes. “These are not actions of a civilized state, but are part of the arsenal of terror. In other words, Russia is essentially already calling itself in the eyes of the international community.”
This is not the first time that a parliament in Europe has described Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. National chambers in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic had previously voted to use similar names.
“We note that some countries have classified Russia as a terrorist state,” the Commission spokesperson added. “However, the EU does not have a legal framework to designate a third country as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”
In addition to the new legal framework, the European Parliament is calling for a “comprehensive” international isolation of Russia, a further dismantling of diplomatic relations and a new round of EU sanctions.
“Contacts with its official representatives at all levels (should) be limited to the absolute minimum necessary,” the legislator said.
The resolution comes days after Russia launched a new spate of attacks on Ukraine’s most important infrastructure, raising fears of a massive exodus of people ahead of the winter season.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the text and said that Russia must “be held accountable to end its long-standing terrorist policy in Ukraine and around the world.”
This article has been updated to include new details and reactions.