Russian officials have responded to accusations from Latvian MPs, who declared the nation a “state sponsor of terrorism.”
Latvia said Russia is leading a “genocide against the Ukraine people” and has called on the international community to take similar steps.
In a statement released on Aug. 11, the nation’s lawmakers said Russia has a history of supporting and financing “terror regimes,” citing the nation’s connection to the Assad regime in Syria among other allegations.
“In Ukraine, Russia has chosen similar — cruel, immoral and illegal tactics, using imprecise and internationally banned weapons and ammunition, targeting civilians and public places with disproportionate brutality,” said Rihards Kols, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Latvian parliament which is known as the Saeima.
“The Saeima recognizes Russia’s violence against civilians, which is carried out to achieve political goals, as terrorism and Russia as a state supporting terrorism, and calls on other like-minded countries to express such an opinion,” the lawmakers said.
Latvia has taken a number of steps to condemn Russia and subjugate Russian influence within the country.
The government previously banned displays of ’Z’ and ‘V’ symbols, considered pro-Russia icons that have circulated online. The public is barred from holding events near monuments erected to commemorate the Soviet army or its occupation of the region.
Additionally, Estonia and Latvia have both urged the European Union to stop issuing tourist and entry visas to Russian and Belarusian people.
Latvia also plans to reinstate compulsory military service as the Russia-Ukraine war continues, per EuroNews.
A Russian official, in its response, described Latvia as “neo-Nazis.”
“Considering that there is no substance, except for animalistic xenophobia, behind this decision, it is necessary to call the ideologues nothing more than neo-Nazis,” wrote foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Telegram.
Prior to the Feb. 24 invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had “decided to conduct a special military operation” for the “demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine” during a televised address.
“Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of modern Ukraine,” Putin said, per The Week. “All responsibility for bloodshed will be on the conscience of the ruling regime in Ukraine.”
The missile strike hit a detention center and resulted in the death of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war.
On Aug. 9, Zelenskyy said the war’s end depended on the fate of Crimea.
“This Russian war against Ukraine and against the entire free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea — with its liberation,” the president said.