The European Parliament voted on Wednesday in favor of a resolution to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, a largely symbolic move that was nonetheless welcomed by President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
The European Union imposed severe sanctions on Russia after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. The E.U. cannot currently designate states as sponsors of terrorism, but the European Parliament, the bloc’s only directly elected institution, said in a statement that it was calling for Brussels and the 27 member states to consider putting in place the “proper legal framework” to do so, and to add Russia to such a list.
“Following the atrocities carried out by Vladimir Putin’s regime against Ukrainian civilians,” members of the European Parliament have “recognized Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism,” the statement reads. The resolution was adopted with 494 votes in favor, 58 against and 44 abstentions, it added.
“Parliament calls on the European Union to further isolate Russia internationally,” including from the U.N. Security Council and other international bodies, the statement said. It also called for the E.U. to impose a ninth package of sanctions against Moscow, and for further work to prevent the circumvention of current sanctions.
Mr. Zelensky said in a post on the Telegram social messaging app that “Russia must be isolated at all levels and held accountable in order to end its longstanding policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe.”
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, noted the resolution on Telegram and said that she proposed that the Parliament be recognized as a “sponsor of idiocy.”
President Biden said in September he would not designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism because it could set back humanitarian efforts and potential peace negotiations. Ukrainian authorities say that more than more than 8,300 civilians have been killed in the war so far.