The European Parliament should declare Russia a terrorist state for the “intimidation and destruction of Ukrainians as a nation,” according to a strongly-worded resolution being drafted by the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and seen by Euronews.
At least two other political groups, Renew Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformists, are preparing similar texts, Euronews can confirm, increasing the odds for a formal declaration to be issued by the hemicycle as early as next Wednesday.
The groups plan to put their resolutions, which could be eventually merged into one, to a vote during next week’s plenary, where they would necessitate a majority of MEPs to be formally adopted.
Parliamentary resolutions are not legally binding but can carry a heavy symbolic weight.
The resolution drafted by the EPP accuses Russia of perpetrating deliberate and indiscriminate atrocities against Ukraine, including the “mass murder” of civilians, continued attacks against essential infrastructure, abductions, torture, sexual violence, forced deportations and crimes of sexual violence.
The party argues Russia’s actions “far exceed” the concept of sponsoring terrorism and the state itself should be branded as a terrorist, given the direct participation of government forces in the invasion.
“Such violent planned terrorist actions of Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine have no military significance and are carried out exclusively with a terrorist intent, orchestrated by the Putin regime, using the existing state machine of the Russian Federation, and executed by regular and irregular military structures, which involve persons with a criminal record and foreign mercenaries,” the draft EPP resolution reads.
“These acts are not one-off instances carried out by rogue elements of the Russian armed forces, but instead are designed and conducted with the specific intent of terrorising the Ukrainian population.”
The text denounces Russia for committing over 34,000 war crimes in Ukraine, showing a “grotesque indifference” to international law, causing “immense” suffering among civilians, and trying to unleash a “humanitarian catastrophe” and a new migration wave ahead of the upcoming winter season.
“The purpose of such terrorist actions by the Putin regime is to suppress the resistance of Ukrainians, to force them to accept the occupying power as having no alternative and agree to the illegally attempted annexation of temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine,” the resolution says.
As a result of these “brutal and inhumane” acts, the lawmakers declare Russia a terrorist state and urge the 27 EU countries and the rest of the international community to follow suit.
The EU’s terrorist list only includes 13 individuals and 21 entities, such as Hamas, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’ (PKK), Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) and the military wing of Hezbollah.
No state has ever been added to the list, which was set up in the aftermath of 9/11 and is reviewed every six months. As a foreign policy tool, any change would require the unanimity of all member states.
“Anything is possible in the EU if all (countries) agree,” a European Commission spokesperson told Euronews.
‘Complete rupture’ of diplomatic relations
Besides branding Russia a terrorist state, centre-right lawmakers demand that financial assets frozen under EU sanctions be confiscated and then used to finance Ukraine’s reconstruction, an idea that has gained traction in recent months but still faces a series of unanswered legal questions.
The EPP also calls for an independent investigation into alleged war crimes and the establishment of an international tribunal to judge them, a proposal that has also been discussed in other forums.
In a more radical turn, the resolution advocates a gradual limitation of EU-Russia diplomatic relations “until their complete rupture” and the expulsion of Russian ambassadors from all member states.
This could prove to be a red line for lawmakers who prefer to keep the dialogue open in a bid to bring the war to an end.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are among the European leaders who still hold occasional phone calls with Vladimir Putin.
Since the EPP-led resolution is still in the draft stage, it is unclear how much support it could garner once it reaches the entire plenary next week.
The EPP is the largest group in the European Parliament with 176 MEPs, some of whom could abstain or vote against the text if they do not fully agree with the final version.
The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), a Eurosceptic right-wing party with 63 members, plans to table a similar, albeit shorter, resolution calling for Russia to be declared a terrorist state.
“It was the ECR Group who come up with the idea – not the EPP,” an ECR spokesperson told Euronews.
Charlie Weimers, the Swedish MEP behind the ECR text, said passing the resolution would send an “important message of support to the Ukrainian people.”
Renew Europe, the liberal group that holds 103 seats in the European Parliament, also intends to table a text of condemnation, labelling the Russian Federation as a “state using the means of terrorism,” a spokesperson told Euronews.
The liberals are open to working across the aisle to reach a compromise on the text that could be supported by a sufficient majority of lawmakers.
“Yes, we are united,” the spokesperson explained. “Each group will table its own text and after that, they will start negotiating a common one.”
The centre-left Socialists & Democrats group (S&D), the second largest in the hemicycle with 144 seats, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The Greens, which control 71 seats, will discuss their own draft tomorrow afternoon in order to finalise their position, a spokesperson told Euronews, without adding further details about the content or the wording.
The final vote is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 22 November, in the early afternoon, with results expected to unveil the following day.