Lithuania lists Russia as terrorist state, calls Ukraine war genocide

Lithuania has designated Russia as a terrorist state and officially accused the Kremlin of genocide during its invasion of Ukraine.

Lithuanian parliament members unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. According to the Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security, the Baltic state is the first to officially do so.

“The military of the Russian Federation, which deliberately and systematically targets civilian targets, is a state that supports and implements terrorism,” the resolution read, according to Lithuanian State Radio and Television.

“Parliament recognizes the full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and its political and military leadership – the war … is a genocide against the Ukrainian people.”

The resolution accuses Russia of war crimes in Butcha, Irpin, Mariupol, Borodiaka, Hostomele and other cities, and highlights the Kremlin’s ostracism from the international community for its actions against Ukraine Degree.

Canada’s House of Commons passed a motion last month recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as acts of genocide, but did not designate Russia as a terrorist state.

Lithuania is a NATO member and the first EU member to ban Russian gas imports, a move that marks a further escalation by world leaders to exclude the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabriel Landsbergis on Monday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to step down, saying in an interview with The Associated Press that “peripheral countries are in danger.”

U.S. lawmakers have called for the designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, introduced a resolution Tuesday to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Outside a series of grievances, including the Kremlin’s second Chechen war and the Syrian civil war.

The U.S.-proposed resolution also cites Russia’s use of Wagner Group mercenaries, which the Treasury Department describes as “a proxy force designated by the Russian Defense Ministry,” to commit violence against civilians in Ukraine, Syria, Sudan and Libya.

President Biden has so far rejected calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and members of Ukraine’s parliament to lump Russia together with Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria — the only four countries currently designated as state terrorism.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told lawmakers last month that while he had “no doubt” that “the Russians are terrorizing the Ukrainian people,” he said State Department lawyers were still determining “we actually meet the statutory requirements for that designation.”

Ukrainian parliament president Ruslan Stefanchuk praised Lithuania for passing the resolution on Tuesday.

“I urge the world to take up the baton so that the memory of the massacre of Ukrainians will never be erased by the enemy!” Mr Stefanchuk said.

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