Latvian parliament declares Russia a ‘sponsor of terrorism’

The Latvian parliament declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” and said Moscow’s actions in Ukraine constituted “genocide”.

“The Latvian parliament recognizes Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, and calls on like-minded countries to express the same view,” the Latvian parliament said in a statement today.

According to Latvian parliamentarians, “Russia’s violent action against Ukrainian civilians in pursuit of political ends is terrorism”, while condemning the use of cluster munitions “to sow fear and kill people”. indiscriminately harming civilians”.

“Russia uses suffering and threats as tools in its efforts to demoralize the Ukrainian people and armed forces, and paralyze state operations to control Ukraine,” the statement added.

The Latvian parliament also urged the European Union (EU) to stop issuing tourist visas to citizens of Russia and Belarus, as well as to reduce entry visas in general. “Belarus supports and participates in the Russian campaign,” the statement said, calling on the international community to impose sanctions on Belarus similar to Russia.

Russia and Belarus have not yet responded to this information.

A residential building in Donetsk province, eastern Ukraine, destroyed by a missile attack in April. Photo: Reuters.

A residential building in Donetsk province, eastern Ukraine, destroyed by a missile attack in April. Photo: Reuters.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine at the end of February with the goal of “de-militarization, de-fascistization”. The US and the West condemned the military campaign and have imposed a series of wide-ranging sanctions against Moscow. Ukraine has repeatedly called on countries to list Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism”.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has not shown any signs of abating even though it has entered its sixth month. The negotiation process between the two countries has stalled since late March, and both Moscow and Kiev blamed the other for the risk of making negotiations impossible.

Relations between Russia and Latvia as well as the Baltic countries became tense after the conflict in Ukraine. The leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia condemned Russia’s military campaign and called on the international community to increase military aid to Ukraine.

Last month, the Russian corporation Gazprom announced it would cut off gas to Latvia, citing a breach of the agreement. The move comes a day after Latvian energy company Latvijas Gaze announced it would pay for Russian gas in euros instead of rubles as required by Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Meanwhile, the Latvian embassy in Moscow last week announced it would stop accepting visa applications for Russian citizens “indefinitely”, but did not give specific reasons.

Huyen Le (Theo AFP)

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