Thursday, 11 August 2022 – Latvian MPs have declared Russia a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ and described its war in Ukraine as a ‘targeted genocide against the Ukrainian people’.

This was revealed in a statement passed in Riga today, August 11. It was stated that Russia is now ‘recognised as a state sponsor of terrorism, and calls on other like-minded countries to express the same view’.

MPs in the Baltic state, which borders Russia, said they considered ‘Russia’s violence against civilians committed in pursuit of political aims as terrorism’.

They also condemned its use of cluster munitions ‘to sow fear and indiscriminately kill civilians’.

Putin’s forces are using ‘suffering and intimidation as tools in its attempts to demoralise the Ukrainian people and armed forces and paralyse the functioning of the state in order to occupy Ukraine,’ they added.

But Russia hit back, with Kremlin foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slamming the MPs’ statement as ‘xenophobic’.

Lawmakers in Riga also urged the European Union to stop issuing tourist visas for Russian and Belarusian citizens and to cut down on entry visas in general.

They said Russia’s invasion was carried out ‘with the support and involvement of the Belarusian regime’ and called on the international community to impose the same sanctions adopted against Russia on Belarus.

The statement came a day after US defence secretary visited Latvia and suggested the US may bring in additional trips from America.

Lloyd Austin said alongside Latvian PM Arturs Krisjanis Karins yesterday morning: ‘We will enhance our rotational deployments in the region and intensify our training with our Baltic allies to further strengthen our combat credible posture in the region.’

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