The European Parliament on Wednesday voted to formally recognize Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism” for what it called “deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine.”
European legislators also cited “serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amount to acts of terror” in the overwhelming vote in favor of the terror label. The move is more symbolic than anything, however, carry no specific legal consequences for Moscow.
The EP is now urging the European Union to enact the same, which would mark a major escalation in already spiraling relations, as it would also likely require more sanctions.
The parliament statement said it “recognizes Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the designation, saying Wednesday, “Russia must be isolated at all levels and held accountable in order to end its long-standing policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe.”
At the same time, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova angrily dismissed the move, writing on Telegram: “I propose recognizing the European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy.”
Immediately after the vote, European officials accused Russia of mounting a “sophisticated” cyberattack:
“I confirm that the Parliament has been subject to an external cyber attack, but the Parliamentary services are doing well to defend the Parliament,” Dita Charanzová, Czech MEP and Parliament vice president responsible for cybersecurity, said in a statement.
Another senior Parliament official, requesting not to be named, said “it might be the most sophisticated attack that the Parliament has known so far.”
Eva Kaili, who is the Greek vice president of the European Parliament, pointed the finger at Moscow, saying, “We have a strong indication that it is from Killnet, the hackers with links to Russia indeed. This is my information, but it is under control. It only cut the external access to the Parliament’s website … Unless there is extra attacks we expect it to be back and accessible very soon.”
Shortly after, a group believed by the West to have ties to the Russian state claimed responsibility:
PRO-RUSSIA GROUP KILLNET CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR DDOS ATTACK
And similarly, the German Greens’ MEP Alexandra Geese said on Twitter: “This morning Russia was still designated as a terrorist state in an official resolution. This afternoon the entire network collapses in [the European Parliament].” The attack mainly impacted the European Parliament website.