Moscow sponsors terrorism. That’s the verdict of the European Parliament, which voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. Its military strikes on civilian targets – such as energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools and shelters – violate international law, reads the adopted resolution.
- Out of 596 MEPs, 494 voted in favour, 58 against, and 44 abstained.
- Only four Italian MEPs voted against: Francesca Donato (non-inscrit, who in March voted against condemning the Russian invasion) and Democratic Party members Pietro Bartolo, Andrea Cozzolino and Massimiliano Smeriglio.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the decision. “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,” he tweeted.
The Five Star Movement abstained. Almost all Italian MEPs voted in favour, with the notable exception of Giuseppe Conte’s party. A note of its delegation to the European Parliament, circulated before the vote, calls to “raise the tone of peace in Ukraine” and claims the resolution “leads in the opposite direction.”
- “Our solidarity with the Ukrainian people is total, and we hold Russia solely responsible for the ongoing war on Ukrainian soil. Its army has also been guilty of heinous crimes. Still, after more than nine months of open hostilities that have not spared the civilian population, weapons must be silenced, and diplomacy must prevail.”
Conte’s “pacifist” line. The head of the 5SM is the first signatory of a motion in the Italian Parliament, tabled for next week, requiring the government “to illustrate and discuss with all political forces the strategy to be pursued in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, in order to promote initiatives that will see our country become the interpreter and protagonist of a new phase of negotiations to halt the military escalation.”
- Mr Conte, a former PM, repeatedly opposed sending more military aid to Ukraine (despite voting in favour when the 5SM was part of Mario Draghi’s government).
- But the only way to achieve peace is “to provide the necessary weapons and assistance to Ukraine and, finally, to recognise Russia as a sponsor of terrorism,” said the Ukrainian Ambassador to Italy, Yaroslav Melnyk, while rebuking Mr Conte’s stance in late October.