Latvia's parliament declared Russia a state sponsor of terror Thursday for its targeted military attacks against civilians and public places
Lativia's unicameral parliament, known as the Saeima, approved a resolution noting that Russia has supported and financed terrorist regimes and organizations for years.
The Saeima used as examples Moscow's support for the Assad government in Syria shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 and the poisoning of British intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018.
The Saeima statement said Russia has now used "similarly ruthless, immoral, and illegal tactics in Ukraine, as it uses imprecise and internationally banned weapons and ammunition" on civilians. It also cites reports from human rights groups and international observers, which have documented atrocities committed by Russian forces against Ukrainian civilians, "including torture, rape, killings, and mass detentions of civilians."
Latvian lawmakers said Russia uses "suffering and intimidation as tools in its attempts to demoralize the Ukrainian people." They recognize these acts against civilians "committed in pursuit of political aims as terrorism and Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and calls on other like-minded countries to express the same view."
They also called on the European Union and the West to "urgently intensify and implement comprehensive sanctions against Russia, as well as call on European Union member states to immediately suspend the issuance of tourist visas and restrict the issuance of entry visas to citizens of the Russian Federation and Belarus, among other measures."
Latvia shares borders with both Russia and Belarus.
Russia insists it does not deliberately target civilians in what it calls its 'special military operation' aimed at safeguarding Russia's security and protecting Russian speakers in Ukraine.
Reuters news service reports Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, expressed his gratitude for the Latvian parliament's resolution.
Some information for this report was provided by the Reuters news agency.