NATO state labels Russia ‘supporter of terrorism’
Lithuania’s parliament, the Seimas, unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday accusing Russia of genocide and terrorism in Ukraine.
The “large-scale armed aggression” launched by Russia against Ukraine on February 24 amounts to “genocide of the Ukrainian people,” the document said.
“The Russian Federation, whose military forces deliberately and systematically bomb civilian targets, is a state that supports and practices terrorism.”
The Seimas called on the international community to set up a special tribunal to investigate the behavior of Russian troops in Ukraine. The vote on the resolution took place shortly after Elena Kondratyuk, the deputy speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, addressed Lithuanian MPs.
Kiev, Western governments, and human rights groups have accused Russian troops of committing war crimes in Bucha and other cities in Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied that its forces were killing civilians and argued that Ukraine and the West are waging a disinformation campaign.
Russia, in turn, has accused Kiev of shelling residential areas in Donbass and executing prisoners, which Ukraine has also denied. Both countries have accused each other of genocide.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s top human rights official, condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine in April. Her spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, however, told reporters the same month that the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had not documented crimes in Ukraine that could be qualified as genocide.
Russia attacked the neighboring state following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.