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‘State terrorists’: MEPs react after European Parliament blacklists Russia

origin 1©euronews

The European Parliament calls for new steps. After declaring Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” on Wednesday, MEPs want to acknowledge, more consistently, the atrocities Russia has committed in Ukraine.

During the monthly plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs voted overwhelmingly in favor of the symbolic resolution, with 494 voting in favor of the motion.

The outcome could pave the way for MEPs to hold Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for alleged war crimes during their invasion of Ukraine.

“What we voted today, Russia is a terrorist state, it sets an example for all dictators like Putin. Think twice every time you want to do something like this, because there are other dictators in the world besides Putin who think they are doing something like that, Romanian MEP Vlad Gheorghe with Renew Europe told The Global Conversation.

Full interview

Sandor Zsiros, RockedBuzz via Euronews: Vlad Gheorghe. What does it mean for the future that the European Parliament now designates Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism? Does this bring the end of the conflict closer?

Vlad Gheorghe, Romanian MEP, Renew Europe: First of all, let’s acknowledge what everyone knows. What do you call a state that attacks citizens that is guilty of over 40,000 documented war crimes and a state that seeks to kill civilians by freezing them to death or starving them? This is what we have now said to the European Parliament: we see it and we recognize it politically.

SZ: Mr. Lagodinsky, do you think Russia will ever be added to the EU’s official terrorist list?

**Sergey Lagodinsky, German MEP, Greens/EFA:**I think we’re not there yet. I see this resolution primarily as a political statement and an important sign of solidarity and also recognition of Russia’s behaviour, number one, and this is how the resolution takes it: number one, Russia adopts terrorist behaviour. And number two, Russia employs a terrorist unit. If we talk about the Wagner Brigade, for example, or if we talk about some units of the so-called Chechen Chechen army, I would say that their behavior is terrorist and Russia is their sponsor. So, from this point of view, we are safe, but we do not have a legal instrument to deal with this issue in the European Union or on the international scene, except in the United States. So one of the calls in this resolution is to try and develop something similar until we have a solid legal basis. It’s going to be quite difficult to actually draw any conclusions from what we’re doing in the legal realm.

Cut it: And the resolution also calls for the transfer of frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine. How would it work in reality?

VG: Every decision we make, must be based on the law, and now we are writing that legislation to be able to get Russian resources sooner to rebuild Ukraine, because we have to start rebuilding Ukraine before the war is over because people there need it. . And secondly, repay what our budgets have sustained so far.

Cut it: This is actually a very interesting point that you said that we must respect the rule of law, because one of the pillars of Western civilization is respect for private property or respect for state property. Is this a violation of this pillar?

SL: We are both rapporteurs on the confiscation of assets, private assets of oligarchs or mafiosi in the European Union which we will discuss and negotiate in Parliament. For that, you need someone who has committed a crime. Do you need someone where there is a connection between him and resources etc. Etc. So we are trying to find a rule of law based way to achieve this. As far as state assets are concerned, there is still a long way to go. There is a so-called state property immunity which is recognized under international law, but of course there can be exceptions and we should start discussing with the international community whether such an exception is present here.

**VG:** And the long-term goal is obviously to find legal ways, as Sergei told me, to find legal ways to get Russian assets to where they actually need to be used to rebuild Ukraine. Why one last thing, because we have 40 billion euro of private assets and about 400 billion of state assets. So that’s quite a difference.

Cut it: Now the European Parliament is also calling for a new round of sanctions against Russia. What should be included? And do you think it’s time to have them now?

VG: Yes, I think it’s time to have them now. I think it’s a perfect example for all dictators, exactly like what we did today, because what we voted today, Russia is a terrorist state, it means an example for all dictators like Putin: think twice whenever you want do something like this, because there are other dictators in the world besides Putin who think of doing such a thing. And yes, we need to have more sanctions. And, yes, we have to think about a maximum price for Russian oil and Russian gas, which are very important as complementary sanctions. But also very important for the life of Europeans now, because Putin is playing an energy price war and we have to react to this.

Cut it: How should the European Union continue to support its current policies towards Ukraine?

SL: I think it is obviously a matter of aid between Member States. We will not be able to sustain this winter and provide citizens with much needed social and financial help if Member States do not help each other. And that’s why I think we won’t be able to avoid getting more mutual debts as the European Union to have a solidarity fund that would help member states. We are not nation-states. We do not give welfare directly to citizens. But I think supporting citizens in terms of social support and economic support for businesses should be a priority this winter. This is important, but to be honest, our burdens, as far as I understand our burdens, are not comparable to those of the Ukrainians who are also being killed, tortured and raped right now. So I think we should also see that we still have the privilege of living in peace with our neighbors being attacked.

Cut it: Vlad Gheorghe, the same question goes to you.

VG: I will continue Sergei’s answer. Peace is priceless. You simply cannot put a price on peace. This is incredibly necessary for all people. We are Europeans. We have it. Now we understand how to appreciate it more because we have a war on our borders. So, yes, of course, we have to do more for our citizens, for our European citizens. And I am very, very sure that our citizens will continue to be 100% in solidarity with the Ukrainians, as they have shown. So remember, European citizens were the first to react to the war, not European states. And finally, we as a union, are as strong as the bond between our states. So this is our strength, our solidarity and our unity. If we lose it, we lose everything to Putin.

Cut it: Thank you both so much for the interview.

SL: Thank you.

**VG:**Thank you very much.