Russia is a terrorist state. Let’s stop pretending that’s not the case.
On November 22, 2006, a man died an excruciating death three weeks after drinking tea in a London hotel.
On July 17, 2014, a civilian airliner was shot down in eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board died.
On October 16, 2014, an explosion occurred at an arms depot in Vrebtice, Czech Republic, killing two people.
On March 4, 2018, a man and his daughter were poisoned in Salisbury, England.
What do these four seemingly unrelated events have in common? The Russian government was behind them all.
The man who died on November 22, 2006 was Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian dissident who was poisoned with polonium, a radioactive weapon, by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
The civilian airliner, Flight MH-17, was shot down by a Russian missile system BUK-TELAR of the Russian armed forces’ 53rd Anti-aircraft missile brigade, in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine.
Czech authorities concluded two weeks ago that the 2014 explosion at the arms depot in the Czech Republic was carried out by officers from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU) .
The man and his daughter, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent – Novichok, a chemical weapon – again, by GRU agents.
It is the actions of a rogue regime that threatens world peace.
Russia has proven time and time again that it is prepared to flout international law, invade neighboring states, target civilian planes, and use chemical and radioactive weapons, endangering the lives of hundreds of people.
As this pattern of Putin’s regime destruction becomes clearer, one wonders how many more attacks the Russian government is responsible for which we do not yet know.
Most countries define terrorism as an act committed “In whole or in part for any political, religious or ideological ends, objectives or causes”, with the intention of intimidating the public “with regard to their safety, including their economic security, or to coerce a person, government or a national or international organization to do or refrain from doing any act. “
These four acts – the assassination and poisoning of opponents of the Russian regime, the bombing of an arms depot on foreign soil, the military invasion of a foreign country and the subsequent destruction of a civil line – are clearly acts performed for a political purpose. .
Russia’s willingness to brazenly carry out these attacks on foreign soil means that no one anywhere is safe. Expelling Russian diplomats will not deter Russia from further attacks. In fact, a weak response will only further embolden the regime and lead to more death and suffering. That is why it is important that our governments protect us by labeling Russia for what it is: a terrorist state.
In 2018, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner introduced a bill that would have required the US State Department to determine within 90 days whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a sponsoring state for terrorism under US law. Unfortunately, the legislation failed to pass through the legislative process before the election of a new Congress.
Recently, the United States and Canada have both listed the “Russian Imperial Movement” (RID) as a terrorist organization. RID has been linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the individuals involved in the destruction of flight MH-17. It would be unlikely that in a repressive police state like Russia, this organization could function without the knowledge and support of the Russian state.
On June 14, 2021, the heads of state and government of NATO allies will meet at the NATO summit in Brussels. NATO leaders agreeing to appoint Russia as a state sponsor of terror would be an important and fitting start to hold the Russian regime accountable.
Designating Russia as a terrorist state would place Russia firmly in its place – along with the world’s worst state actors, such as Iran and the murderous Assad regime in Syria – and limit Russia’s ability to access it. foreign aid, dual-use technologies and abroad. funding. It would also be a strong moral signal to the Russian regime that its malicious actions and attacks are having consequences.
Alexandra Chyczij is the National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
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