The European Union’s parliament on Wednesday voted to label Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in a symbolic move as the EU has no legal framework for the label.
The resolution passed in a vote of 494-58, with 44 members not voting. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the move and urged the US and other countries to also label Russia as a state sponsor of terror.
The White House said in September that it ruled out the idea of labeling Russia as a state sponsor of terror. Currently, only Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria are labeled by the State Department as state sponsors of terror, which has more weight than the EU resolution as it expands sanctions on the targeted nation.
Russia has already been put under heavy US sanctions, so the label would have little impact on Moscow. But it could give the US more power to sanction countries that are doing business with Russia, and it would signal that US-Russia relations won’t be repaired for years to come as the label is usually tough to reverse.
Russia has denounced the EU’s move, with Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying the EU should be designated as a “sponsor of idiocy.” Some EU members previously labeled Russia as a terror sponsor on their own, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.