Saturday

10th Dec 2022

MEPs formally declare Russia 'state sponsor of terrorism'

  • The 'deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine' is one reason why most MEPs voted for the resolution (Photo: Emilio Morenatti)
Listen to article

The European Parliament on Wednesday (23 November) designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

MEPs, with 494 voting 'yes', 58 'no' votes and 44 abstentions, argued that Moscow's military strikes on civilian targets such as energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools, and shelters violated international law.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The move is symbolic as the EU does not have the legal framework to make such a designation officially, it is up to member states.

In the EU, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland have already designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism by their national parliaments.

"The deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out 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 amount to acts of terror," the resolution said.

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the vote.

"Russia must be isolated at all levels and held accountable in order to end its long-standing policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe," he said in a tweet.

MEPs hope the informal EU designation pushes national governments to add Russia to their own lists, triggering further restrictive measures. MEPs also called for the bloc itself to develop a legal framework to be able to designate countries as state sponsors of terrorism.

Polish MEP Anna Fotyga from the rightwing European Conservatives and Reformist group, which has initiated the resolution, said: "the past and the present have shown that Russia is a terrorist state".

"We say it clearly in this resolution. It should also have consequences. The terrorist state of Russia should be defeated. We cannot negotiate with terrorists or make business with them. Russia should be isolated internationally, including exclusion from the United Nations Security Council," she added.

In the resolution, lawmakers call for further isolation of Russia internationally, and want Russian diplomatic ties to be reduced to the minimum.

Centre-right MEP from Lithuania Andrius Kubilius, previously prime minister of the Baltic country, argued that the vote sends a "clear political signal".

"Now it's up to the EU and the member states to draw adequate consequences, including by starting a comprehensive international isolation of Russia," he said.

"We have called a spade a spade. All the atrocities that the Russian regime is committing and has committed over the years in Ukraine, in Chechnya, in Syria and against its opponents in Europe and at home do not leave any doubt," Kubilius added.

Wagner Group

MEPs also called on member states to include the Russian paramilitary organisation, the Wagner Group, the 141st Special Motorised Regiment, known as the "Kadyrovites", and other Russian-funded armed groups on the EU's terrorist list.

MEPs also want EU countries to prevent, investigate and prosecute any circumvention of current sanctions, and called for the ninth sanctions package against Russia to be quickly adopted.

The US has so far not listed Russia as a terrorist state even though both chambers of the US Congress urged secretary of state Anthony Blinken to do so.

The US currently names North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism, which means they are subject to defence export bans, a ban on aid, and further financial restrictions.

Ukraine files cases against 45 suspected war criminals

Ukraine has filed court papers against 45 suspected war criminals out of whom 10 have been already convicted for crimes committed since the Russian invasion began in late February, said Ukraine's prosecutor general

Rights group documents forcible-transfer war crimes in Ukraine

A new Human Rights Watch report documents how Russia has forcibly transferred Ukrainian citizens from their homes to Russia and Russian-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine, a war crime in breach of international law, in a so-called "filtration" process.

Opinion

More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes

A Joint Investigation Team combines prosecutors, police and judges from different countries who come together under the coordination of Eurojust to synchronise cross-border investigations — with a track record of achieving results: from the Bataclan attacks to the MH17 investigation.

Agenda

EU's Hungary funds, China, energy, and Frontex This WEEK

In the European Parliament, MEPs will hear from ECB president Christina Lagarde, Kyiv's Vitali Klitschko, and from the three candidates proposed by the EU Commission to be the new boss of EU border agency Frontex.

Opinion

The military-industrial complex cashing-in on the Ukraine war

From the outset, arms manufacturers eyed this war as a profitable business opportunity. Structural changes took place across the EU, not only to fast-track arms to Ukraine, but also to make more public finance available to the highly-lucrative arms industry.

Column

Autocrats make us all less secure

How should democratic states co-operate with authoritarian governments in the future? My organisation, Democracy Reporting International, has studied the security strategies of 13 democratic governments to understand how they see this relationship.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission silent on Greek spyware sale to Madagascar
  2. A plea to the EU from inside Tehran's Evin jail
  3. EU lets Croatia into Schengen, keeps Bulgaria and Romania out
  4. Energy crisis costs thousands of EU jobs, but industrial output stable
  5. Illegal pushbacks happening daily in Croatia, says NGO
  6. No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU
  7. EU takes legal action against China over Lithuania
  8. EU Commission shoring up children's rights of same-sex parents

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us