European Parliament declares Russia a state sponsor of terrorism

Rescuers workking at the site of a maternity ward of a hospital destroyed by a Russian missile attack, in Vilniansk, in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region, on Nov 23, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS - The European Parliament on Wednesday designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, arguing Moscow’s military strikes on 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.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky 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.

US 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 US 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. REUTERS

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