Estonia on Russia's actions in Ukraine: This is genocide

Sandbags and a Ukrainian flag flying over the destroyed Kharkiv City Hall in Ukraine's second-largest city.
Sandbags and a Ukrainian flag flying over the destroyed Kharkiv City Hall in Ukraine's second-largest city. Source: Kristjan Svirgsden/ERR

Following a speech from MP Olena Shuliak, head of the visiting delegation from the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Riigikogu on Thursday unanimously adopted a statement on the Russian Federation's war crimes and genocide in Ukraine.

Shuliak described Thursday's vote in the Riigikogu as historically important for Ukraine, according to a Riigikogu press release. She noted that the recognition of Russia's activities as genocide against the Ukrainian people as important for honoring the memory of the tens of thousands who have died, but also important for those who have been tortured or raped, whose houses have been destroyed, as well as for those who continue to be forced to shelter in the basements of Mariupol from bombing.

"Qualifying the crime as such will lead to irrevocable condemnation — starting with the perpetrators and ending with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin in person," the Ukrainian MP said.

Shuliak reminded Estonian lawmakers that it is their shared responsibility to do everything in their power to end the genocide. "It is our joint responsibility to make sure that this never takes place again — anytime, anywhere, in no country," she said. "I believe that together we can achieve this goal."

According to the statement passed by the Riigikogu, it has been ascertained that in the war of aggression waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, systematic and massive war crimes have been committed against the Ukrainian nation by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. These crimes are ideologically incited by Russia's political and military leadership and its national propaganda authorities.

"In the temporarily occupied territories, in particular the towns of Bucha, Borodyanka, Hostomel, Irpin, Mariupol, and many other Ukrainian settlements, the Russian Federation has committed acts of genocide, inter alia mass atrocities against the civilian population," the statement reads. "These have consisted of murders, enforced disappearances, deportations, imprisonment, torture, rape and the desecration of corpses."

In its statement, the Riigikogu recognizes as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation the actions committed by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and urges other national parliaments and international organizations to do the same. The Riigikogu also calls for support to the investigation of these crimes, the prosecution of the perpetrators, and the establishment of an international court for this purpose.

The Riigikogu also calls on countries around the world to immediately strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation, including by ending the trade of energy carriers with Russia with no exceptions, as well as to increase military assistance and humanitarian aid of critical importance to Ukraine. The Riigikogu expresses deep respect to the Ukrainian nation in their fight for freedom, commemorates the fallen, and mourns the victims.

MPs to speak during the debate preceding the vote included Anti Poolamets (EKRE), Mati Raidma (Reform), Mihhail Lotman (Isamaa), Lauri Läänemets (SDE) and Enn Eesmaa (Center).

All 86 of 101 MPs present for the vote on Thursday voted in favor of passing the statement.

The Riigikogu's unanimously adopted statement follows close on the heels of a similar statement likewise unanimously passed by the Saeima in Latvia on Thursday morning in which it also explicitly called Russia's current actions in Ukraine a genocide.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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