UK Friends of Ukraine, a British non-profit organization, has started a petition to call on the British government to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and be the first G7 nation to do so.

The group was founded following the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, and its aim is to foster support for Ukraine from the UK during and after the war.

It said that the UK, as an ally of Ukraine, should live up to its commitment and take the symbolic step of designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“It is time the UK Government showed its opposition to state sponsored terrorism and lives up to its commitment as a vital ally of Ukraine. That is why we are calling on the UK Government to [recognize] and designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism,” the group said in its petition, citing a list of Russian war crimes committed in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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What the designation entails will vary slightly from country to country, but it usually means the cutting of trade and diplomatic ties with the target country, imposing sanctions and international isolation.

Alex Rennie, UK Friends of Ukraine’s director and leader of Havant Borough Council, said the group compiled a report of their work with a documented list of Russian attacks against Ukrainian civilians to illustrate the level of damage Russia has done to Ukraine.

“We have aimed to bring together in one document the almost countless numbers of attacks that have been suffered by the citizens of Ukraine over the past decade.

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“All across the UK, we know that people still support Ukraine and by signing our petition they can show their continued support for Ukraine and opposition to Russian state terrorism,” said Rennie.

The group urged UK citizens to sign and share the petition, as well as contacting their local member of parliament (MP) to “advocate for the designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and demand concrete measures to hold Russia accountable.”

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To date, a list of countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, as well as the European Parliament has already recognized Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

In September 2023, the UK recognized Wagner, a Russian mercenary group in Ukraine, as a terrorist organization.

However, it would be a largely symbolic move for the UK to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism as there is currently no legal framework in place to govern such lists, as opposed to the US which has a system in place to sanction those listed accordingly.

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