Flemish Parliament brands Russia 'state sponsor of terrorism'

In a resolution approved on Wednesday, the Flemish Parliament calls Russia a 'state sponsor of terrorism'. The text, drafted by all three parties in the Flemish majority, will be transmitted to the Russian and Ukrainian governments.

The Flemish Parliament describes Russia's actions in Ukraine as "terrorist acts" and "war crimes". Consequently, attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are "state terrorism". The parliament demands that all persons involved be identified and prosecuted as soon as possible. The signatories call on the European Union to develop a legal framework concerning states sponsoring terrorism, so that action can be taken in cooperation with European member states.

Far-left opposition party PVDA sided against the resolution tabled by majority parties N-VA (Flemish nationalists), CD&V (Christian democrats) and Open VLD (liberals), arguing that such initiatives will bury the grain deal with Russia.

"Whoever votes for this text, with a very justified condemnation of Russian crimes, is voting against negotiations", Jos D'Haese of PVDA said. "This is a free pass for further escalation of the war. We are in favour of the grain agreement and against further escalation." PVDA abstained from the vote.

Far-right Vlaams Belang, also part of the Flemish opposition, joined PVDA in opposing the resolution. "Because international law has instruments to prosecute war crimes, but not to prosecute a country designated as a terror state," party member Johan Deckmyn said. "There is no international definition of state-sponsored terrorism. Possibly, some of our allies would appear on that list." Groen (green party) approved the resolution but tabled an amendment to act against Belgium's continued diamond trade with Russia. The amendment was voted down. Vooruit (social democrats) did approve the majority text.




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