RIGA - The European Parliament has declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, LETA was told at Latvian MEP Inese Vaidere's (New Unity) office.
According to Vaidere, such designation is logical, considering Russia's terror in Ukraine. Vaidere, who participated in drafting the resolution, believes that this "barbaric state" must be punished for what it has done.
The EU Parliament also adopted the bloc's 2023 budget in which half a million euros have been earmarked to a pilot project that will make it easier to confiscate Russian assets so they can be used for supporting Ukraine.
"The deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amount to acts of terror," a resolution approved by EU lawmakers said.
Representatives of the MEP's office indicated that currently the confiscation of Russian terrorism supporters' assets in Europe is going slowly as the process is held back by legal uncertainty and difficulties to prove the sanctioned individuals' ties connection with Russia's crimes.
To deal with this problem, Vaidere has prepared a pilot project on which the EU will spend EUR 500,000 next year. This funding will allow to explore legal possibilities of not only freezing but also confiscating the assets of pro-Kremlin activists and oligarchs like bank deposits, apartments, yachts, jewelry worth many billions of euros, which could then be used to rebuild Ukraine and support victims of the war.
The study, planned as part of the pilot project, will help prove the connection between assets owner by individuals or legal entities linked with the Kremlin and Russia's war crimes. Vaidere indicated that the new pilot project will improve the efficiency of EU sanctions also against other individuals and organizations and might deter other potential offenders from committing crimes in the future.
European Parliament Vice President Roberts Zile (National Alliance) underlined that the stance adopted by the European Parliament can prove important also to the Ukrainian government. Russia's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism can help Ukraine argue against the position that it should start talks with the Kremlin because normally, terrorists are not considered potential negotiations partners, they have to be defeated.