By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BRUSSELS/KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – The European Union’s parliament has condemned Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism after a new Russian missile barrage caused blackouts across Ukraine, killing many.
Legislators of the European Parliament said Russia “uses means of terrorism” in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine and urged the EU and its 27 member states to consider putting Russia on the bloc’s terror list.
They also urged the EU’s decision-making Council to include on the terror list the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group and other Moscow-funded “armed groups, militias and proxies.”
Wednesday’s resolution, adopted by 494 votes in favor, 58 against with 44 abstentions, came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “crimes against humanity.”
Zelensky told the United Nations Security Council via video link that the Russian “formula of terror” forced “millions of people to stay without energy supplies, without heating, without water” in sub-zero cold.
The strikes, hitting the capital Kyiv and other cities and towns, killed at least seven people, Ukrainian authorities said Wednesday amid mounting concerns about a nuclear incident.
Nuclear power plants went offline because of the Russian missile strikes. Authorities said the three plants still under Ukrainian control were disconnected from the grid.
The Russian occupies Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest, was forced again to rely on diesel generators to power its cooling systems and critical safety equipment, officials said.
With human suffering increasing in a war that reportedly killed and injured hundreds of thousands of people, the European Parliament also urged the EU to isolate Russia further.
In Wednesday’s resolution, European legislators demanded that Brussels reduces diplomatic ties with Moscow and isolates Russia from international organizations and bodies such as the United Nations Security Council.
Additionally, they want “Russian state-affiliated institutions in the EU spreading propaganda around the world to be closed and banned,” despite concerns that would impact press freedom.
The EU has already been cracking down on media, including the Kremlin-backed global broadcaster RT, formerly known as Russia Today, raising eyebrows among journalists.
“Against the backdrop of the Kremlin’s escalating acts of terror against Ukrainian civilians,” the European Parliament’s resolution also asked the EU to introduce a ninth sanctions package against Moscow swiftly.
At the same time, “EU countries should actively prevent, investigate and prosecute any circumvention of current sanctions,” the resolution stressed. “Together with the [EU’s executive] European Commission” the EU “should consider possible measures against countries trying to help Russia circumvent restrictive measures already put in place.”
There has been growing pressure on countries such as EU-member state Hungary, where the government opposes sanctions against Russia and halted several measures.
Hungary used its veto power, for instance, to prevent the EU from blacklisting Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill for calling Russia’s war on Ukraine “a religious cleansing operation.”
The 75-year-old Kirill, also known as Vladimir Gundayev from St Petersburg, blessed Russian soldiers in sermons, according to an internal EU document leaked to the media.
Hungary, which has a program supporting persecuted Christians, said it did not want to cut off millions of Russian Orthodox believers from their leader through sanctions such as travel bans and asset freezes.
While it reluctantly signed several sanctions, the government of Hungary’s hardline Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also opposes energy measures impacting his nation’s economy.
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