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Europe has designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. what next?

Brussels, Belgium – The European Parliament declared Russia It said Russia’s atrocities against Ukrainians and destruction of civilian infrastructure violated international and humanitarian law, calling it a “state sponsor of terrorism”.

Wednesday’s parliamentary move was welcomed by Ukrainian officials who have been pressuring European Union and NATO countries to label Russia a terrorist state.

“Russia is a terrorist state: confirmed by the European Parliament. Russia has a history of terrorist acts against sovereign states, support for terrorist regimes and organizations, including Wagner, and war on terror against Ukraine,” said Dmytro of Ukraine. Foreign Minister Kuleba said. murmured He thanked the European Parliament for its “clear stance” on Russia.

However, the European Parliament’s Russia label is not legally binding.

“The EU does not have a centralized list of state sponsors of terrorism, nor an equivalent mechanism. Therefore, there will be no immediate legal consequences. It has limited influence,” Sajjan M Goher, a counterterrorism expert and visiting lecturer at the London School of Economics (LSE), told Al Jazeera.

The parliamentary declaration “is a symbolic condemnation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” he said.

While the declaration focused primarily on Russia’s actions in Ukraine, parliament also called on EU leaders to include Russian paramilitary groups. wagner group or known for mercenary fighters Horrible atrocities in Syriaand Russia’s 141st Specialized Motorized Regiment, Kadyrovites (notorious for its brutal operations in Syria and Ukraine), have been added to the EU’s list of terrorists.

this list It was founded in 2001 by Brock as a counter-terrorism initiative in response to the 9/11 attacks in New York.

So far, the EU has declared and sanctioned 13 individuals and 21 groups and organizations, including ISIL and Al Qaeda, as terrorists.

Members of the European Parliament said their position against Russia, announced at their headquarters in Strasbourg, would allow the state to be labeled as a supporter of terrorism and move towards a legal structure that would allow Russia to be included in such a list. I hope to spur the

Bruno Lete, a senior fellow at the US German Marshall Fund in Brussels, told Al Jazeera that parliament is trying to isolate Russia internationally.

“First, through this announcement, the European Parliament puts pressure on EU member states to take a stronger stance against Russia, while its trans-Atlantic ally has yet to call it a terrorist state. I’m trying to hang on,” he said.

“Second, there has been much talk of setting up a separate court to investigate war crimes and human rights abuses committed by Russia in Ukraine. There is,” he added.

The Kremlin angrily retaliated.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told Telegram: “I propose to designate the European Parliament as the sponsor of the fool.

Hours after the declaration, Moscow fired a series of missiles across Ukraine. This chain of events was not lost on Anton Gerashchenko, the Ukrainian minister’s assistant. “Rocket hits Kyiv just after the European Parliament recognized Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s website faced a “sophisticated cyberattack”, according to European Parliament President Roberta Mezzola.

“A pro-Kremlin group has claimed responsibility. Our IT experts are against this and are protecting our systems. This is after declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

My response is #SlavaUkraini,” she tweeted.

Oleg Ignatov, senior analyst for Russia at Crisis Group, told Al Jazeera that a similar reaction from Moscow was unlikely because the label was merely symbolic.

“Moscow would be hurt more if this approval came from the United States. Such a decision would have concrete legal consequences. We can claim compensation from funds and property abroad,” he said.

Divisions Across the European Political Spectrum

Russia is the first country to be declared a state sponsor of terrorism by the European Parliament.

However, the vote was not passed unanimously, and members of right-wing parties within the European Parliament refused to identify Russia as involved in terrorism.

An overwhelming majority of MPs – 494 – voted “yes”.

However, 58 votes “against” and 44 votes abstained.

“Resolutions can only be adopted in response to support and votes.

“The central parties, the middle parties, the Liberals, the Socialists, all voted with overwhelming majority.

“However [on the] At the extremes of the spectrum we find that this may not be the case. “

He said similar voting patterns were likely to emerge if European officials tried to put other countries in the same bracket.

“I think it’s . .

“You know, in Ukraine, I think there is a very strong emotional bond and reaction here in Europe, but not in a country far away.”

So far, Washington’s terrorist list includes Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and Iran as countries that have “repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism.”

Ignatov explained that US President Joe Biden’s administration is resisting labeling Russia.

“Moscow has acknowledged that such a move would likely cut diplomatic ties with Washington, which wants to leave Russia a way out of the war in Ukraine through diplomacy.” added Ignatov.

What the European Parliament’s move means for the EU and the ongoing war in Ukraine remains unclear.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Poland called on the rest of the EU A unified decision to designate Russia as a terrorist state has not yet been taken.

“All EU member states overwhelmingly support Ukraine. [in distance] To Russia, such as the Baltics and Poland, for Ukraine to win the war. France and Germany want peace. Of course, these are two very different strategies of hers, two very different visions,” Lete told Al Jazeera.

He added that the European Union declaration could make it harder for EU countries to waive sanctions against Russia if a peace deal is sought in the future.

“But peace depends on progress on the battlefield and is not such a declaration,” he said.

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