Lithuania declares Russia author of terrorism and genocide : NPR


Demonstrators protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Independence Square outside the Palace of Parliament in Vilnius, Lithuania March 24, 2022. Lithuania’s parliament has since declared Russia a perpetrator of terrorism and genocide.

Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images


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Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images


Demonstrators protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Independence Square outside the Palace of Parliament in Vilnius, Lithuania March 24, 2022. Lithuania’s parliament has since declared Russia a perpetrator of terrorism and genocide.

Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images

The Lithuanian parliament has labeled Russia a terrorist country and its actions in Ukraine as genocide.

The Lithuanian Seimas tweeted tuesday that its members had adopted the resolution unanimously.

This makes Lithuania the first country to declare Russia a perpetrator of terrorism, according to Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security. He is not the first to formally accuse Russia of genocide: Canadian lawmakers unanimously passed such a motion last month.

Lithuania’s resolution says Russian armed forces and mercenaries have committed war crimes in Ukraine, citing reported atrocities in the locations of Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Borodyaka, Hostomel and other towns, according to the public broadcaster Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT).

β€œThe Russian Federation, whose military forces deliberately and systematically target civilian targets, is a state that supports and perpetuates terrorism,” the resolution reads.

It also recognizes “the large-scale armed aggression – war – against Ukraine by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and its political and military leadership […] as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.”

According to LRT, the resolution describes Russia’s intent as destroying Ukraine and breaking its spirit by “killing entire families, including children, kidnapping and raping people, and making fun of them and bodies of those murdered”.

Lawmakers are calling for Russia to be held accountable for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. They advocate for the creation of an international tribunal to investigate Russia’s actions and want it to have the power to issue international arrest warrants.

Ukrainian officials praise Lithuania’s resolve. Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, described it as “history” in social media posts.

“I urge the whole world to take over so that the memory of the massacres of Ukrainians is never erased by the enemy!” he said.

However, the declaration is not without risks. This could worsen the former Soviet republic’s increasingly strained relations with Russia, an expert noted on Tuesday.

Samuel Ramani, geopolitical analyst and research associate at the Royal United Services Institute in London, tweeted that Lithuania’s moves provoked “strong reactions in Moscow”, with a Russian lawmaker warning that Russia could completely sever economic ties with the country.

Lithuania, which is a member of NATO, has taken other concrete steps to distance itself from Russia since the start of its war in Ukraine. In April, it became the first country in the European Union to stop imports of Russian gas.

And, more recently, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for regime change in Russia in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday: “As long as a regime that intends to wage wars outside of Russian territory is in place, the countries surrounding it are in danger.”

This story originally appeared in the morning edition live blog.

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