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Lithuania becomes first nation to designate Russia as terrorist country

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 5/10/2022 Cami Mondeaux
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Lithuania’s Parliament unanimously voted to designate Russia as a terrorist state, becoming the first country in the world to make such a declaration since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine in February.

Lithuanian lawmakers voted to declare Russia an agent of terrorism and its actions genocidal, according to the two-page resolution the parliament adopted Tuesday. The declaration pointed to Russian attacks against civilians in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Borodyanka, and Hostomel as war crimes with the intent to destroy the country.

"The [parliament] recognises the full-scale armed aggression – war – against Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation and its political and military leadership [...] as genocide against the Ukrainian people," the resolution states. “The Russian Federation, whose military forces deliberately and systematically target civilian targets, is a state that supports and perpetrates terrorism.”

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Ukrainian officials praised Lithuania’s resolution, with several lawmakers describing it as a “historic” moment in the war.

"I urge the whole world to pick up the baton so that the memory of the mass murders of Ukrainians has never been erased by the enemy!" said Ruslan Stefanchuk, chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament, in a tweet.

Despite earning praise from Ukraine, the vote risks worsening Russia and Lithuania’s already strained relationship. Lithuania, a former Soviet territory, declared its sovereignty in May 1989, later establishing its independence from the Soviet Union altogether a year later.

The country was the first Baltic state to declare its independence from the Soviet Union and the first to drop “Soviet” from its name.

Lithuania has long warned about a Russian invasion of Ukraine, predicting action from the Kremlin for over a decade. Most recently, Lithuanian leaders have issued further warnings that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attacks may only escalate as his losses begin to mount.

"There are countries that are expecting that we just have to wait it out and kind of wait for the war to be over and then we'll get back to the business as usual," Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told CNN. “Russia's warmongering state will be over when the regime is over in Russia. That's the only way that we see it.”

Lithuania has stepped up retaliatory actions against Russia since its invasion began, becoming the first European Union nation to halt the importation of Russian gas in April. Most recently, Landsbergis has called for regime change in Russia, provoking warnings from the Kremlin that Russia may cut off economic ties with Lithuania.

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Several U.S. lawmakers are urging the United States to follow suit, with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introducing a resolution on Tuesday that presses Secretary of State Antony Blinken to declare Russia a terrorist country. Blinken has previously said that “there is no doubt in my mind that the Russians are terrorizing the Ukrainian people.”

The U.S. has already declared that Russia has committed war crimes against the Ukrainian people, with President Joe Biden accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of genocide in April.

 

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Tags: War in Ukraine, Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, Terrorism

Original Author: Cami Mondeaux

Original Location: Lithuania becomes first nation to designate Russia as terrorist country

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