The European Parliament has designated Russia a "state sponsor" of terrorism over its actions in Ukraine.  It is a first for the European Union as a whole, but it is unclear what the label will mean. 

EU lawmakers on November 23 declared Russia a "state sponsor" of terrorism in line with pleas from Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy.  

"The deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes," a press release from the European Parliament stated, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

The designation is a largely symbolic condemnation of Russia's actions in Ukraine and beyond. The US government has so far resisted the label for Russia, citing potential unintended consequences under its legal system.

It is unclear what the label will mean.  That depends on the jurisdiction. In the United States, there is a specific legal instrument listing states that have "repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism."  At present, only Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria are on it. 

Inclusion means restrictions on foreign aid, a ban on defense exports to such governments, controls on exports of technology with potential military use and financial constraints. Crucially, it also has implications for Russia's sovereign immunity in US courts.

Canada also has a similar instrument condemning "state supporters of terrorism." 

By contrast, the European Union currently has no centralized list of "state sponsors of terrorism" and no equivalent tool, DW says.

The Euronews says the strongly-worded resolution was overwhelmingly approved on Wednesday afternoon during the monthly plenary session in Strasbourg, with 494 votes in favor, 58 against and 44 abstentions.

This is not the first time a parliament in Europe labels Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. National chambers in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic had previously voted to apply similar designations.