Designating Russia as a “terrorist state” would have dramatic legal consequences for the war in Ukraine, and it’s time for the world to act.
That’s according to an oped, penned by the chief of the Ukrainian President’s Office, Andriy Yermak, for Politico.
The official notes that Ukraine’s Western allies have unanimously condemned Russia’s indiscriminate attacks on non-military targets, but they could also put a meaningful legal definition to these atrocities: Russia has engaged in widespread terrorist activity.
“Terrorism isn’t a tactic of political coercion that can only be utilized by rogue groups against a more powerful adversary. It can also be pursued by a major state power against a smaller country. The tactics, methods and outcomes remain the same,” Yermak wrote.
The definition of terrorism is a deliberate, indiscriminate attack on civilians with a political goal, the chief of the president’s office recalls.
“Despite their support in many important areas, however, incredibly, Ukraine’s Western allies still don’t formally recognize Russia as a terrorist state, or ‘state sponsor of terrorism.’ Such a move would have dramatic legal consequences: No one in the West does business with terrorists, and such a designation would further limit the Russian regime’s access to the finance it needs to fund its war machine,” said Yermak.
The head of the President’s Office also cited as examples of Russia’s terrorist activities in relation to Ukraine the killing of civilians on the streets of Ukrainian cities, missile attacks on residential buildings, the bombarded drama theater in Mariupol, where civilians, including children, were sheltering at the time, as evidenced by the large inscription outside the theater building.
As reported by Ukrinform, an international conference will be held in The Hague on July 14 to coordinate the efforts of the international community aimed at investigating crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, and ensuring justice.
It is expected that the parties will explore opportunities for cooperation and coordinate their efforts on the inquiry in Ukraine under the auspices of the ICJ Prosecutor’s Office. Recommendations will also be provided on gathering and storing evidence, as well as on enhancing cooperation with non-governmental organizations.
At the conference in The Hague, Kuleba will propose to work out the signing of an international agreement on setting up a special tribunal to investigate the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine.