European Parliament declares Russia a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’
The European Parliament on Wednesday declared Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism" over the "brutal and inhumane" acts upon Ukraine and its citizens including military strikes on civilian targets such as energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools and shelters.
A total of 494 MEPs backed the resolution, 58 opposed it and 44 abstained.
"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 against the Ukrainian population and constitute war crimes," said the resolution voted by the European lawmakers.
The lawmakers also condemned Russia for provoking a "large-scale" humanitarian crisis in Mariupol and "weaponising" food and hunger, with global implications.
These "atrocities," MEPs said, are designed to terrorise the Ukrainian population, stifle their resistance and force 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 whole European continent and the rules-based international order," the resolution read.
The move is largely symbolic, as the European Union does not have a legal framework in place to back it up but Russia still reacted angrily to the decision:
"I propose designating the European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram.
The European Parliament with the resolution called on EU member states to develop a brand-new legal framework that can enable the designation of an entire country as a sponsor of terrorism, something that is currently not possible.
"For the time being, the European Union has no such regulation like, for example, the Americans, who have a special law on the designation of the states which are sponsoring terrorism," Andrius Kubilius, one of the MEPs who authored the resolution, told Euronews.
The EU's terrorist list, which was set up in the aftermath of 9/11 and is reviewed every six months, only allows the bloc to blacklist specific individuals and organisations.