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UK MPs, Peers, campaigners back renewed calls to designate Russia state sponsor of terrorism

UK’s 13 MPs and 5 Peers have signed a joint letter to the UK Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, calling on him to review the case for designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

British MPs, Peers, and campaigners have come together to back a campaign by the UK Friends of Ukraine to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

It follows deliberate and persistent bombardments of civilian targets in cities across Ukraine during the Christmas and New Year period that destroyed hundreds of homes and murdered many. These include some of the biggest attacks in terms of missiles since the start of the war, with dozens of hypersonic Kinzhal missiles that have murdered civilians in Kyiv and other major cities.

13 MPs and 5 Peers have now signed a joint letter to the UK Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, calling on him to review the case for designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. A link to the letter can be found here.

A grassroots campaign by the UK Friends of Ukraine has also been launched, with a petition aiming to show public support and pressure the UK Government to make the UK the first G7 nation to formally designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. A link to the petition can be found here.

This follows the decision by the UK Government in September 2023 to proscribe the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation. The Wagner Group is a Russian-state controlled mercenary organisation that has committed barbaric acts both in Ukraine and in at least six African countries including Mali, Libya, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

Since the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, when Wagner fighters were assimilated into the command structure of the Russian military, it now acts fully as the terrorist arm of the Russian state. Labour MP and Co-Chair of the Ukraine APPG Alex Sobel said:

“Russia poses a threat to the stability of the whole world and isn’t just acting in Ukraine but destabilising nations and fomenting conflict in every continent. The UK Government must take global leadership by designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism as part of a concerted and renewed global opposition to Russia’s continued war in Ukraine.”

The campaign is being backed by human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who has supported numerous campaigns against Russian war crimes and human rights abuses for many years. Peter Tatchell said:

“What we are witnessing today in Ukraine is state terrorism by Russia. Its military is bombing civilian areas and infrastructure, including apartment blocks, hospitals, schools, churches and supermarkets. These are war crimes that echo what the Nazis did in Ukraine during the Second World War. I urge the UK Government to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.”

Alongside the letter and petition, the UK Friends of Ukraine has published a report ‘Why Russia is a terrorist state.’ It documents thousands of acts of terrorism that have been committed by the Russian state. See here and the below summary.

As of 11 January 2024, the following figures provided by the UK Government are conclusive evidence of Russian state terrorism:

  • 10,200 civilians murdered;
  • 520 children murdered and a further 1,200 injured;
  • 19,300 civilians injured;
  • 167,200 civilian buildings destroyed;
  • 123,201 war crimes registered.

Actual numbers might be considerably higher, as information from many locations with intense hostilities or occupied by Russia are not yet available or confirmed. These numbers are constantly rising as there is no end to Russian terrorism.

Alex Rennie, UK Friends of Ukraine Director and Leader of Havant Borough Council, said:

“The war crimes in Ukraine since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022 and for over 9 years since it occupied the Crimea territory of Ukraine is beyond evil. It is based on indiscriminate bombing, destruction on an industrial scale and sustained acts of terrorism, including the mass murder, mass kidnapping and mass torture of the civilian population.

We have aimed to bring together in one document the almost countless numbers of attacks that have been suffered by the citizens of Ukraine over the past decade. All across the UK, we know that people still support Ukraine and by signing our petition they can show their continued support for Ukraine and opposition to Russian state terrorism.”

By Stephen Hoffman

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