Fri. Mar 31st, 2023


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Lithuania becomes first to designate Russia as terrorist state

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Demonstrators protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine in front of the Parliament Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 24. Photo: Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images

Lithuania's parliament on Tuesday designated Russia as a terrorist country and recognized its actions in Ukraine as genocide.

Why it matters: In doing so, Lithuania has become the first country in the world to designate Russia as a sponsor and executor of terrorism, Ukraine's Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security tweeted.

State of play: Lithuania's unicameral parliament adopted the two-pronged resolution unanimously, per a statement posted to its Facebook page.

  • "The war against Ukraine by the Russian Federation is a genocide of the Ukrainian nation carried out by Russia. The Russian Federation is a country that supports and executes terrorism," the statement read.

What they're saying: The resolution stated that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukrainian cities such as Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Borodyanka and Hostomel, Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) reported.

  • The parliament "recognizes 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," it added.
  • The resolution also stated that Russia, "whose military forces deliberately and systematically target civilian targets, is a state that supports and perpetrates terrorism."

The big picture: Last week, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova told the U.S. Helsinki Commission that Russia had committed nearly 10,000 war crimes over the course of the war.

  • Russian forces have deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure such as hospitals.
  • Last month, Sima Bahous, the United Nations executive director for women, told the UN Security Council that reports of human trafficking, rape and other sexual violence in Ukraine were increasing.
  • President Biden said last month that Russia was committing genocide in Ukraine.

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