- The Washington Times
Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Lithuania has labeled Russia a terrorist state and formally accused the Kremlin of genocide in its invasion of Ukraine.

Members of Lithuania‘s parliament on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution declaring that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism. The Baltic country is the first to officially do so, according to Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security.

“The Russian Federation, whose military forces deliberately and systematically target civilian targets, is a state that supports and perpetrates terrorism,” the resolution reads, according to Lithuania National Radio and Television.

“The Seimas 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.”

The resolution accuses Russia of war crimes in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Borodyaka, Hostomel and other cities, and highlights the degree to which the Kremlin has become ostracized from the international community for its actions against Ukraine.

Canada’s House of Commons adopted a motion last month to recognize Russia’s actions in Ukraine as acts of genocide, though stopped short of labeling Russia a terrorist state.

The move from Lithuania, a member of NATO and the first European Union member to ban Russian gas imports, marks a further escalation by world leaders to ostracize the Kremlin over its actions in Ukraine.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis on Monday called for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ouster, stating in an interview with The Associated Press that “countries surrounding it are in danger.”

U.S. lawmakers have called for designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, introduced a resolution Tuesday that would designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, citing a list of grievances beyond Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the Kremlin’s targeting of civilians during the Second Chechen War and Syria’s civil war.

The proposed U.S. resolution also cites Russia’s use of mercenaries from the Wagner Group, which the Treasury Department has labeled “a designated Russian Ministry of Defense proxy force,” to carry out acts of violence against civilians in Ukraine, Syria, Sudan and Libya.

President Biden so far has resisted calls from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and members of Ukraine’s parliament to lump Russia in with Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria — the only four countries that currently carry the state-terrorism designation.

Secretary of State Antony 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 “that we actually meet the statutory requirements of that designation.”

The chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, praised Lithuania for adopting the resolution Tuesday.

“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!” Mr. Stefanchuk said.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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