BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament on Wednesday designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, arguing that its military strikes on Ukrainian civilian targets such as energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools and shelters violate international law.
European lawmakers voted in favor of a resolution describing Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The move is largely symbolic, as the EU has no legal framework to support it. At the same time, the bloc has already imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow reacted angrily to the decision of the European Parliament.
“I propose to classify the European Parliament as a sponsor of foolishness,” Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on Telegram.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the decision of the European Parliament.
“Russia must be isolated at all levels and held accountable in order to end its long term policy of terror in Ukraine and around the world,” he wrote on Twitter.
Zelensky urged the United States and other countries to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, accusing its forces of targeting civilians, which Moscow denies.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has so far refused to include Russia despite resolutions in both houses of Congress urging him to do so.
The US State Department currently designates four countries – Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria – as state sponsors of terrorism, which means they are subject to defense export embargoes and financial restrictions.
In the European Union, 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.
Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold, Mark Trevelyan, Max Handler and Bart Meagher; Editing by Maren Strauss, Bernadette Baum and Nick McPhee
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