On Wednesday, the European Parliament designated Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, arguing that its military attacks on Ukrainian civilian targets such as energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools, and shelters violated international law.
European lawmakers voted in favor 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’s decision.
“I propose designating the European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the European Parliament’s decision.
“Russia must be isolated at all levels and held accountable to end its long-standing policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe,” he wrote on Twitter.
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. 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 defense export ban and financial restrictions.
In the EU, the parliaments of four countries have so far assigned Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the European Parliamentary Research Service: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland.