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Moscow denounces “Russophobic” course of the measure, which it calls a violation of international law
Latvia’s Parliament on Thursday adopted a communiqué in which it categorizes Russia as a “country sponsoring terrorism” for the violence over Ukraine and in which it joins the government’s call for EU countries to restrict tourist visas for Russian and Belarusian citizens.
The Latvian legislative body, which urges other countries to join this symbolic declaration, accuses Russian forces of perpetrating all kinds of “atrocities” since the beginning of the invasion in February, to the point of equating the violence exercised on civilians with terrorism.
For this reason, the deputies see the need to “urgently intensify” sanctions against Russia, in an appeal they extend to the entire Euro-Atlantic community and allied countries, although for now there are no indications for example that the EU as a bloc will penalize tourist travel by Russian citizens.
Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas declared this week that “visiting Europe is a privilege and not a human right.” So far, only Finland and Latvia have followed suit.
The chairman of the Latvian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Rihards Kols, has denounced that “Russia has been supporting and financing terrorist regimes and organizations for many years” and is now applying the same “ruthless, immoral and illegal tactics” in Ukraine, where it would have used banned weaponry and exercised “disproportionate brutality.”
At this point, Russia’s response has not been long in coming and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a statement in which they brand the steps taken by the Latvian Parliament as “another manifestation of Russophobia” which, they say, has become a sort of “diapason” of the Baltic country’s foreign policy.
“This step by Latvia’s supreme legislative body is in flagrant contradiction with existing international law and violates the principle of the sovereign equality of states,” which is “enshrined” in the UN Charter, the Russian diplomatic portfolio has asserted.
Moscow has thus accused Riga of accepting a “pawn’s role in the hands of its masters abroad” by adopting a measure that is aimed at “replacing the universal norms and principles of international law.”
“This statement was adopted by the parliament of a country whose authorities openly glorify Nazism, pander to Nazi accomplices and encourage sending their own citizens as mercenaries to Ukraine, where they fight as part of neo-Nazi formations controlled by Kiev,” the Russian Foreign Ministry added.
Finally, Moscow has regretted that the decision comes from a country where the fight against the financing of terrorism and money laundering “is far from meeting international standards”, while Russia, they say, complies with note in this section.
“Latvian parliamentarians should stop engaging in provocations and remember what people they are elected for, focusing primarily on the interests of their country and its citizens,” the Russian government has concluded.