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18 Oct, 2022 14:24

EU country brands Russia a ‘terrorist regime’

The Estonian parliament’s declaration is largely symbolic and made at the behest of Kiev
EU country brands Russia a ‘terrorist regime’

The Estonian parliament voted on Tuesday to label Russia a “terrorist regime,” condemning its “aggression” against Ukraine and calling for Kremlin officials to face an international tribunal. The statement mirrors a similar declaration by EU bureaucrats last week.

The statement was adopted by 88 votes in the country’s 101-seat parliament. In April, the legislature already accused Russia of “war crimes and genocide,” citing atrocities that Moscow has dismissed as “provocations” and which reports suggest may have been the work of Ukrainian security forces.

Tuesday’s declaration repeated the accusations of “genocide,” calling for Russian officials to be punished by an international tribunal. It also demands further EU sanctions on Moscow and NATO military aid for Ukraine. It labels Russia’s recent military mobilization “a crime against peace,” and calls for the country to be removed from the UN Security Council, a move that would be legally impossible to implement.

The declaration came after a similar resolution was adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) last Thursday. Russia left the European NGO in March, calling it a “convenient platform for NATO’s information and political campaigns.” Legislatures in Latvia and Lithuania have also passed similar motions.

While Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has called on the collective West to declare Russia a “state sponsor of terror,” only a handful of countries have heeded his call, and their actions have been limited to symbolic gestures. Those with the power to enforce actual anti-terror sanctions against other states, like the US, have refused to take this step.

US President Joe Biden simply answered “no” when asked last month if he would apply the label to Russia, with the White House adding afterwards that it would not be "the most effective or strongest path forward,” and would cause legal difficulties for organizations working to export Russian and Ukrainian grain from Ukraine’s ports.

However, the European Parliament will vote in November on “recognising Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism,” the European Conservatives and Reformists bloc announced on Twitter on Monday.