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  • Borislav Ivanov

The EU has labeled Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism”

According to experts, the European Parliament's action is mostly symbolic and unlikely to be applied to other belligerent countries like Syria.

Brussels, Belgium – The European Parliament has labeled Russia a "state sponsor of terrorism," claiming that Russian crimes against Ukrainians and destruction of civilian infrastructure violate international and humanitarian law.

The action by the Parliament on Wednesday was applauded by Ukrainian leaders, who have been lobbying the European Union and NATO to declare Russia a terrorist state.

“Russia is a terrorist state: confirmed by the European Parliament. Russia has a history of acts of terror against sovereign states, support for terrorist regimes and organizations including Wagner, war of terror on Ukraine,” Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, hailed the European Parliament for its "clear position" against Russia in a tweet.

The European Parliament's Russia label, on the other hand, is not legally binding.

“The EU has no centralized list of state sponsors of terrorism and no equivalent mechanism. So, there will not be any immediate legal consequences. The European Parliament has limited influence in foreign policy decision-making, which is under the purview of the 27 EU member states,” stated counterterrorism expert Sajjan M. Gohel in an interview.

The proclamation of the Parliament "is essentially a symbolic denunciation of Russia's activities in Ukraine," he added.

While the declaration focused primarily on Russia's actions in Ukraine, the Parliament also urged EU leaders to add the Russian paramilitary organization the Wagner Group of mercenary fighters, which is notorious for atrocities in Syria, and Russia's 141st Special Motorised Regiment, the Kadyrovites, which is notorious for brutal operations in Syria and Ukraine, to the EU's terror list.

So far, the EU has designated 13 people and 21 organisations and companies as terrorists, including ISIL and al-Qaeda, and imposed sanctions on them.

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