Parliaments of Latvia, Estonia declare Russia has committed genocide in Ukraine

Associated Press / Rodrigo Abd
Soldiers walk amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022.

The parliaments of Latvia and Estonia — former Soviet states that are now members of NATO and the European Union — officially declared on Thursday that Russia has committed genocide in Ukraine.

The Riigikogu, Estonia’s parliament, “recognizes as genocide against the Ukrainian people the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and its political and military leadership in conducting the renewed military aggression against Ukraine,” the legislature said in a statement on Thursday.

The parliament said that Russia had committed acts of genocide in areas including Mariupol, Bucha and Borodyanka, among others. 

“These have consisted of murders, enforced disappearances, deportations, imprisonment, torture, rape, and desecration of corpses,” according to the statement. 

The Estonian parliament called on other international organizations and parliaments to take similar measures in calling Russia’s actions a genocide and urged for nations to bolster sanctions against Moscow while increasing humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.

The Saeima, the Latvian parliament, also adopted a statement on Thursday, which says in part that it “recognizes that the Russian Federation is currently committing genocide against the Ukrainian people … with the support and involvement of the Belarussian regime.”

In addition to urging for more sanctions against Russia and providing more support to Ukraine, the statement also asserts that Russia’s invasion “is a gross violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” as well as international law and previous Russian commitments.

The declarations by the two parliaments was praised by Oleksandr Korniyenko, first deputy speaker of Ukraine’s parliament.

“The parliaments of #Estonia and #Latvia have recognised [Russia’s] actions against Ukrainians as genocide. Our friends call on the world to tighten sanctions against [Russia] and support #Ukraine with weapons right now,” Korniyenko wrote on Twitter.

While President Biden and former President Trump have both said that Russia has committed a genocide, the United States has not made a formal declaration, and Biden has said that the ultimate determination will be made with his lawyers. 

Biden’s comments were slammed by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov earlier this month, who claimed during a press briefing it was “a distortion of the situation.” 

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