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Latvian parliament declares Russia sponsor of terrorism, calls on EU to stop giving visas to Russians

The Latvian parliament declared Russia a sponsor of terrorism, the parliament’s website reports.

Also the Latvian parliament called on the EU countries to immediately suspend issuing visas to Russians and Belarusians.

“Over the years, Russia has supported and financed terrorist regimes and organizations in various ways - directly and indirectly - as the largest arms supplier to the Assad regime in Syria and in such cases as the poisoning of Skripals or the downing of MH-17. In Ukraine, Russia has chosen a similar tactic – a brutal, immoral and illegal one, using inaccurate and internationally banned weapons and munitions, targeting civilians and public places with disproportionate brutality.”

Earlier, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said in an interview with The Washington Post that Western countries should ban all Russians from entering their territories and expel Russian citizens so that they “change their philosophy”. This was followed by a statement by the Estonian prime minister that only tourist visas should be banned, and Jan Lipavsky, head of the Czech Foreign Ministry, advocated a complete suspension of Schengen visas for Russian citizens. He stated that he would call for suspension during the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague in late August. But the European Commission (EC) clarified that the EU visa code does not provide for suspension of short-term visas on the entire territory of the EU.

In May, the Senate of the Czech Republic (the upper chamber of the parliament) recognized the crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people. On May 10, the Lithuanian parliament recognized Russia as a terrorist state: a resolution calling Russia a “state endorsing and perpetrating acts of terrorism” was passed unanimously by 128 votes. The document stated that Russian troops committed mass war crimes in Ukraine, with the highest death toll reported in Bucha, Irpen, Mariupol, Borodyanka and Gostomel. On April 21, the parliaments of Estonia and Latvia were the first in the world to recognize Russia's actions in Ukraine as war crimes and genocide.

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