Russia uses terror tactics as a tool of warfare. The asymmetrical weakness of the Russian army, unable to effectively accomplish even mediocre tasks on the front line, has resulted in Putin terrorizing Ukraine and the world with military and nuclear terror. The Russian army’s unprecedented crimes in Ukraine give every reason to recognize Russia as a terrorist state. Putin is not waging war against the Ukrainian Armed Forces: he seeks to physically destroy or expel Ukrainian citizens regardless of their nationality.
The greatest terrorist threat posed by Russia has been the constant shelling by Russian troops of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe. This shelling did not stop even in spite of the visit of the IAEA mission, which visited the site on August 31. Russia places the blame for the shelling on Ukraine, carrying out nuclear blackmail of the West in an attempt to force it to influence Ukraine for the sake of negotiations with the Kremlin, which Putin desperately needs. Russia is putting the whole of Europe at risk of a radiation disaster: in the event of an explosion at a power plant, over half a billion people would be exposed to radiation contamination.
Russia has carried out a series of terrorist attacks in Ukraine, killing hundreds of people, including women and children. Since the beginning of summer, against the background of the tactical defeat of the Russian army and its inability to make serious advances on the front, the Kremlin has used mostly terrorist methods of warfare. Below is a partial list of some of the most bloody crimes committed by the Russian occupiers:-
On 29 July, there was an attack on a colony in Olenivka (Donetsk region), where Ukrainian prisoners of war were held, killing 53 and wounding 130 Ukrainian servicemen. This crime was committed in order to discredit the Ukrainian army, which Russia alleges kills its own people. But even a cursory review of the scene of the accident indicates that the POW barracks were blown up from the inside.
On 14 July, a rocket attack was carried out in the centre of Vinnytsia, killing 22 people and wounding 120. The strike struck exclusively civilian objects: a clinic, offices, and stores.
On 27 June, an Amstor shopping centre in Kremenchug was struck, killing 20 people and injuring 59. There were hundreds of people in the mall at the time of the missile strike. The strike was deliberate – intended to frighten and demoralize Ukrainians at the time of the presence of visitors and shoppers in the mall.
Throughout the months-long assault on Mariupol, Russia used phosphorus bombs and covered residential areas to avoid retaliatory fire from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. At least 25,000 civilians were killed during the city’s fighting. People were buried in parks, squares, and vacant lots. Mariupol became a symbol of Ukrainian tragedy and courageous resistance against the Russian occupiers.
On 31 March, Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv region. After the Ukrainian military arrived, they saw a terrible picture: in the town of Bucha, the Russian military was committing genocide against the civilian population on ethnic grounds: people were tortured, shot, burned alive, and women were raped. Spontaneous graves are still being found in the outskirts of the city, and the estimated number of victims murdered by the Russian killers is about 1,300.
On 16 March, Russian aviation struck the Mariupol Drama Theatre, where civilians were sheltering from Russian shelling. As a result of the airstrike, 600 people were killed. Russian propaganda first completely denied this crime, then blamed Ukraine.
This is a small part of the Kremlin’s proven military attacks. The situation may be even worse in the occupied territories. People are being forcibly removed to the Russian Federation, over 2 million Ukrainians in total have already been removed since the beginning of the war; on the contrary, their exit to Ukraine is very problematic, at times impossible. Russia is shelling Ukrainian grain elevators, food bases, civilian infrastructure, factories, and plants. Putin is at war not with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but with the citizens of Ukraine, regardless of their nationality. This is the greatest tragedy of this war: the Russian army is unable to defeat the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and the war has become positional in nature, draining Russian military and human resources. In this situation, Putin has decided to destroy Ukrainians by terrorist means.
It is imperative to recognize Russia as a terrorist state that does not shy away from the most repulsive and criminal methods of warfare. Official recognition of this status at the level of the U.S. Senate would deepen Russia’s international isolation, confirm Putin as the greatest war criminal of the 21st century, and create prerequisites for the introduction of new sectoral sanctions against Russia.