Russia: Speech on behalf of High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the EP debate on the possible recognition of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism

EEAS Press Team

Speech delivered by Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson

Check against delivery! 

Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament, 

I speak this evening on behalf of High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell. 

The European Parliament has played an important role in demonstrating strong support to Ukraine and supporting robust actions of the European Union.  

We are at a turning point in this war. On the one hand, Ukraine has been defending itself successfully for nearly eight months, recently pushing back the Russian army and liberating territories from the Russian occupation.

On the other hand, President [Vladimir] Putin is continuing along the dangerous path of escalation. Russia has declared an annexation of four Ukrainian regions following sham ‘referenda’, conducted military mobilisation and threatened again with the use of weapons of mass destruction. What is more, Russian military has intensified brutal strikes of Ukrainian cities, civilian targets, including energy facilities. 

This is yet another lie that we have been hearing constantly from the Russian side: that Russian military is conducting an operation targeting military objects only. In reality, the more the Russian army is being pushed back and defeated on the battlefield, the more it is targeting civilian objects with an attempt to frighten the Ukrainian society and weaken its resolve.  

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and international humanitarian law and is causing massive loss of life and injury to civilians. Russia is directing attacks against the civilian population and is targeting civilian objects, including hospitals, medical facilities, schools and shelters. These horrifying atrocities and war crimes must stop immediately.  

Those responsible for these war crimes, and their accomplices, will be held to account. 

While the European Union does not have a legal framework in place to designate a third country as “state sponsor of terrorism”, we take note of such decisions at the national level or resolutions of Parliamentary Assemblies like the one of the Council of Europe few days ago. 

As you know the EU can impose restrictive measures on Da/'esh and Al-Qaida and persons and entities associated or supporting them.  In addition, the so-called “EU terrorist list” (CP 931) was established in response to the attacks of 11 September 2001. 

The European Union has imposed unprecedented sanctions against the Russian leadership, including measures against individuals and entities as well as sectoral measures under several geographic sanctions regimes. 

The eighth sanctions package was adopted on 6 October.  

It includes sectoral measures, notably the extension of import/export bans, crypto restrictions, the extension of the full transaction ban on several additional Russian banks, and the introduction of the legal basis for the price cap on Russian oil. 

Second, listings of 30 individuals and 7 entities, including those who organised and facilitated the illegal referenda, individuals and entities in the defence sector as well as actors who spread disinformation about the war. 

Fourth, the introduction of a new listing criterion to target individuals and entities facilitating infringements of the prohibition of the circumvention of sanctions. 

And the extension of the restrictive measures applying to the occupied territories of [Donetsk and] Luhansk [also to those of] Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Russian threats do not shake our determination, resolve and unity to stand by Ukraine as long as it takes. At this turning point, we must remain strong and united. Morally and politically, Russia has already lost the war. And increasingly, it is losing on the battlefield as well. Ukraine will prevail.   

Thank you for your support. Thank you for your attention.  


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Closing remarks 

Mr President, Honourable Members [of the European Parliament], 

The debate this evening bears witness of your continued support for Ukraine and for the steps undertaken in reaction to the Russian war on Ukraine.

We need to maintain attention to the terrible casualties and the destruction caused by Russia in Ukraine. Thousands of civilians have been murdered, many more tortured, harassed, raped, kidnapped, or forcibly displaced. Russia must be held accountable for the crimes it has committed.  

Ukraine has managed to withstand Russia’s aggression. It has been possible thanks to the bravery of the Ukrainian people and its leaders. It has also been possible thanks to our support. We will continue with our support as long as it takes.

Thank you. 


Link to the video:

Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)460 75 45 53