BRUSSELS: The European Parliament on Wednesday designated Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, arguing that its military strikes on Ukrainian civilian targets such as energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools and shelters violated international law.
European lawmakers voted in favour of a resolution calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
The move is largely symbolic, as the European Union does not have a legal framework in place to back it up. At the same time, the bloc has already imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow reacted angrily to the European Parliament decision.
“I propose designating the European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the European Parliament’s decision.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
Zelenskiy has urged the United States and other countries to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, accusing its forces of targeting civilians, which Moscow denies.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has so far refused to list Russia despite resolutions in both chambers of Congress urging him to do so.
The U.S. State Department currently names four countries – Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria – as state sponsors of terrorism, meaning they are subject to a defence export ban and financial restrictions.
In the EU, the parliaments of four countries have so far designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the European Parliamentary Research Service: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.