MPs and campaigners rally behind UK Friends of Ukraine’s call to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism

01/02/2024

A CAMPAIGN led by the UK Friends of Ukraine urges the UK government to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. The initiative follows extensive bombardments of civilian targets in Ukrainian cities during the Christmas and New Year period, prompting 13 MPs and 5 Peers to sign a letter to the UK Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, advocating for a review of the case.

The joint letter can be accessed here, emphasising the need for urgent action against Russia’s deliberate attacks that resulted in the destruction of homes and loss of civilian lives, marking some of the most significant missile attacks since the war’s inception.

In parallel, a grassroots campaign features a petition aiming to showcase public support for the UK to be the first G7 nation to officially designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

This call for action aligns with the UK government’s September 2023 decision to label Wagner Group, a Russian-state controlled mercenary organisation, as a terrorist group. Wagner Group has been involved in heinous acts in Ukraine and multiple African countries.

Labour MP and Co-Chair of the Ukraine APPG Alex Sobel stated, “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.”

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell, endorsing the campaign, said, “What we are witnessing today in Ukraine is state terrorism by Russia. Its military is bombing civilian areas and infrastructure. I urge the UK Government to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The UK Friends of Ukraine has released a report titled ‘Why Russia is a terrorist state,’ detailing thousands of acts of terrorism committed by the Russian state, available here.

As of January 11, 2024, figures provided by the UK Government reveal the extent of Russian state terrorism, including 10,200 civilians murdered, 520 children murdered, 1,200 children injured, 19,300 civilians injured, 167,200 civilian buildings destroyed, and 123,201 registered war crimes.

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, emphasised the campaign’s purpose, stating, “By signing our petition, they can show their continued support for Ukraine and opposition to Russian state terrorism.”

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