Terrorist stickers slapped on doors outside the offices of EU lawmakers who voted against declaring Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” prompted Cypriot MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek, who was among those targeted, to argue on Twitter that punishing an entire nation could only escalate the crisis.
A total of 494 EU legislators on Wednesday voted to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, arguing Russian military strikes in Ukraine violated international law.
'The punishment of the entire Russian people and culture as well as this political movement towards intensifying a rift with the Russian people, will only lead to an escalation of the crisis'
There were 44 abstentions and 58 votes against the resolution, which said the “deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amount to acts of terror against the Ukrainian population and constitute war crimes.”
Kizilyurek, the first ever ethnic Turkish Cypriot to represent the divided island in the European Parliament, voted no and posted Thursday on Twitter a photo showing a terrorist sticker placed outside his office door in Brussels.
It later turned out that the stickers were placed after office hours in the evening on the doors of lawmakers who voted down the resolution.
“With my votes I support terrorist,” the sticker read, with a bloody handprint appearing over an imprint of the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A statement from the office of Kizilyurek, who accused Putin in early March of “setting Europe on fire,” said the MEP had voted against the resolution on the basis that “as the Europe of Enlightenment we ought to distinguish between political isolation of leadership and the punishment of an entire people.”
“The punishment of the entire Russian people and culture as well as the apparent political movement towards intensifying the rift with the Russian people, will only lead to an escalation of the crisis,” Kizilyurek said.
Resolution praised by Kiev, ridiculed by Moscow
Although the vote was largely symbolic, the move was praised by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"Russia must be isolated at all levels and held accountable in order to end its long-standing policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe," Zelensky wrote on Twitter.
But the non-binding resolution also drew a reaction from Moscow, with Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova making light of the issue.
"I propose designating the European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy," Zakharova wrote on Telegram.