Saeima calls Russia's actions in Ukraine genocide and urges EU to immediately suspend Russian oil and gas imports

  • 2022-04-21
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Saeima today adopted a statement on Russia's aggression and war crimes in Ukraine, stressing Russia's genocide against the Ukrainian people and calling on European Union (EU) member states to immediately suspend Russian oil and gas imports.

The statement was supported by 83 MPs from all parliamentary groups. No one voted against and there were no parliamentarians abstaining.

The statement, drafted by the Saeima's Foreign Affairs Committee and approved by the parliament today, focuses on extensive testimony and evidence of mass brutal crimes committed by the Russian army - murder, torture, sexual abuse and desecration of Ukrainian civilians, including women and children, in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol and elsewhere.

In the statement, the Saeima condemns the efforts by the Russian authorities to deny the crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.

MPs stress that since the start of Russia's military invasion, ten million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes and more than four million have been forced to flee their country. The statement also reads that the defenders and citizens of Ukraine should be honored for their courage and heroism.

"Russia's tactics in Ukraine, bombing residential areas, city centers, passenger stations and civilian infrastructure, as well as the murder of civilians by Russia's armed forces, show signs of war crimes and even crimes against humanity,'' the statement says, while also mentioning the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian citizens to Russian territory.

The Saeima also notes the humanitarian catastrophe Russia has caused in Mariupol, with the Russian army preventing civilians from leaving the city or killing them while fleeing, destroying the city's infrastructure, warehouses with grain and food supplies, blocking food, medicine and water supplies, resulting in starvation and thirst of thousands of Mariupol residents.

The statement recalls what happened in the 1930s, when the Soviet Union's planned and implemented policies in Ukraine in 1932-1933 resulted in an artificial famine, which killed a fifth of Ukraine's population by confiscating grain and food, and which Latvia has recognized as a deliberate genocide of the Ukrainian people by the Stalinist regime.

"Latvia, as a member of the UN, the Council of Europe, the European Union and NATO, which defends democratic values, does not accept Russia's actions in the mass extermination of the Ukrainian people. Latvia condemns all crimes against humanity and genocide and is aware of its obligation to recognize, prevent and commemorate these crimes, to ensure that they do not happen again," the statement said.

Parliament also commends the International Criminal Court's investigation into the war crimes committed in Ukraine and is confident that all those who have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, and who are responsible for their failure to stop them, will be brought to justice. Latvia also strongly condemns Russia's military aggression and the large-scale invasion of Ukraine with the support and involvement of the Belarussian regime.

The statement emphasized that Russia's unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine is a gross violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, in clear violation of Russia's obligations under the UN Charter and international law, as well as Russia's commitments under the Budapest Memorandum and its commitment to guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

The Saeima calls on the Euro-Atlantic community and its partners to urgently establish comprehensive sanctions against Russia in order to stop the Russian military’s capacity to continue military aggression in Ukraine. In addition, the Parliament calls to increase military, financial, humanitarian, and diplomatic support for Ukraine, unanimously support initiatives that condemn Russia’s military activity in Ukraine and isolate Russia from international and regional organizations, and make decisions and establish comparable sanctions targeting Belarus as the supporter of the military aggression of Russia.

In addition, the parliamentarians call on the EU member states to immediately stop imports of Russian oil and gas.

In the statement, the Saeima condemns Russia’s abuse of its veto power at the United Nations Security Council and calls for accelerating UN reforms.