European Union lawmakers on Wednesday voted to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism over its invasion of Ukraine, DW reports.
"The deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes," the European Parliament said in a news release.
The designation is largely symbolic under European laws. The US government has resisted labeling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism over concerns about potential unintended consequences under its laws. Only Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria are on the US list.
What does it mean?
In the US, inclusion on the state sponsor of terror lists means restrictions on foreign aid, a ban on defense exports, controls of tech exports with potential military use and financial restrictions.
But the EU has no centralized list of state sponsors of terrorism and no similar tools.
“In essence, there will be no hard and fast legal consequences. The European Parliament has limited clout in foreign policy, which remains under the control of the 27 member states,” DW reported.
Will US follow?
A growing number of US lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to add Russia to its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham argued in September that the designation would lift Russia’s sovereign immunity in US courts and allow "civil claims from the families of victims of its state-sponsored terrorism."
In Europe, lawmakers in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have declared Russia to be a state sponsor of terrorism but these resolutions are nonbinding.