Following the atrocities carried out by Vladimir Putin’s regime against Ukrainian civilians, MEPs have recognised Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
On Wednesday, Parliament adopted a resolution on the latest developments in Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. MEPs highlight that the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes. In light of this, they recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that “uses means of terrorism”.
EU legal framework needed
As the EU currently cannot officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism, Parliament calls on the EU and its member states to put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list. This would trigger a number of significant restrictive measures against Moscow and have profound restrictive implications for EU relations with Russia.
In the meantime, MEPs call on the Council to include the Russian paramilitary organisation ‘the Wagner Group’, the 141st Special Motorized Regiment, also known as the “Kadyrovites”, and other Russian-funded armed groups, militias and proxies, on the EU’s terrorist list.
Isolate Russia more, complete work on ninth EU sanctions package
Parliament calls on the European Union to further isolate Russia internationally, including when it comes to Russia’s membership of international organisations and bodies such as the United Nations Security Council. MEPs also want diplomatic ties with Russia to be reduced, EU contacts with official Russian representatives to be kept to the absolute minimum and Russian state-affiliated institutions in the EU spreading propaganda around the world to be closed and banned.
Against the backdrop of the Kremlin’s escalating acts of terror against Ukrainian civilians, the resolution further calls on EU member states in the Council to swiftly complete its work on a ninth sanctions package against Moscow. MEPs also want EU countries to actively prevent, investigate and prosecute any circumvention of current sanctions and, together with the European Commission, consider possible measures against countries trying to help Russia circumvent restrictive measures already put in place.
The resolution was adopted by 494 votes in favour, 58 against with 44 abstentions.
For more information on the designation of states as sponsors of terrorism and similar legal frameworks in other countries, check out the latest briefing by the European Parliament’s Research Service.
EPP GROUP: Russia has a terrorist regime
The European Parliament has recognised Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism” and as a “state which uses means of terrorism”. “Now it’s up to the EU and the Member States to draw adequate consequences, including by starting a comprehensive international isolation of Russia”, declared Andrius Kubilius MEP, commenting after today’s vote in the European Parliament.
“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”, continued Kubilius, who is the European Parliament’s standing Spokesman for Russia and who spearheaded the final text of Parliament’s Resolution on behalf of the EPP Group.
“The recognition of this fact by the European Parliament sends a clear political signal. Europe, Europeans do not want to remain passive when their big neighbour is violating all humanitarian and international standards. I expect that now, the European Commission and the EU Council will develop new legal instruments which will allow the drawing of clear consequences for states using means of terrorism. I also expect that political consequences will be drawn; besides a deep international isolation as is now being discussed in the Council, the acceleration of the establishment of an international tribunal which will prosecute the crimes committed by Putin and his proxies”, Kubilius concluded.
ECR GROUP: Classify Russia as a terrorist state and isolate it internationally!
The European Parliament has recognised Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism. The initiative, which came from the conservative ECR Group in the European Parliament, enumerates a long list of acts of terror committed by the Russian Federation.
Speaking after the adoption, ECR Foreign Policy Coordinator Anna Fotyga 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”.
ECR MEP Charlie Weimers, who requested the debate on the issue in October, said after the adoption:
“We are asking the EU Member States to issue legally binding declarations or adopt resolutions that hold Russia responsible for its terrorist acts and that alienate its financial institutions and political sphere of influence from the rest of the world.
“In addition, the Commission and Member States should complete the legal arrangement that allows for the confiscation of frozen Russian assets. These funds should be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine and compensation for the victims of Russian aggression.”
The joint motion from the Renew Europe, EPP Group and ECR Group was supported by a broad majority.
MEPs now expect the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal extending the EU sanctions regime for global human rights abuses, the so-called EU Magnitsky Law, in order to swiftly implement targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for high-level corruption in Russia and Belarus, as well as their enablers and beneficiaries in the EU.
Parliament also wants an international compensation mechanism, including an international register of damages. Seized Russian assets should be used to rebuild Ukraine and compensate victims. The notorious Wagner mercenary force in Russian service should also be classified as a terrorist organisation, according to the text.
RENEW EUROPE: EP RECOGNISES RUSSIA AS STATE SPONSORING TERRORISM AND USING TERRORIST MEANS
The Renew Europe Group welcomes the recognition by the European Parliament of the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism, and calls on the EU and its Member States to develop a legal framework in this respect. A number of significant restrictive measures must be applied against Russia and those countries recognised as sponsors of terrorism with profound impact on their relations with EU and its allies.
In a resolution today approved by the plenary, Renew Europe also calls on the Council to include the Wagner Group, as well as other Russian-funded armed groups and militias on the EU’s terrorist list.
We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the people of Ukraine who continue proving remarkable courage and resilience under unrelenting threats and attacks since 24 February 2022 and over the last nine years of Russian aggressions, as well as with other victims of Russia’s aggression across the world.
Renew Europe MEP, Petras Auštrevičius (Lithuanian Liberal Movement, Lithuania), shadow rapporteur on Ukraine, who negotiated the resolution on behalf of our group, said:
“Europeans are rightly proud of the European Union as a project for peace. However, now, in the face of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, we must have legal and other means of stopping the aggressors who, by supporting terrorism and using terrorist means, are destroying Ukraine and threatening our own security.”
Renew Europe MEP, Bernard Guetta (Renaissance Delegation, France), shadow rapporteur on Russia, added:
“Unable to defeat Ukraine on the military front, losing one position after another and retreating on all fronts, Mr Putin would like to beat the Ukrainians if he cannot beat their army. He is therefore depriving them of water, heating and electricity with bombs. This is called terrorism and it is against this use of means of terrorism that the Parliament is speaking out this week.”