Australia: Calls to brand Russia terrorist state

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The Latvian foreign minister has called for all nations to brand Russia a terrorist state following a meeting with his Australian counterpart where Ukrainian support featured in the discussions.

Penny Wong (left) and Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics held wide-ranging talks in Canberra. © Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS Penny Wong (left) and Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics held wide-ranging talks in Canberra.

Edgars Rinkevics proposed a total ban on Russian citizens entering Europe and the "civilised world" as well as the establishment of a legal framework to brand the Kremlin as a state-sponsor of terrorism.

"I would propose ... a complete ban on issuing visas to the Russians," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

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"Some would argue that this is wrong because there are some democratic forces.

"I believe that all of those who have been persecuted (are) either in prison or abroad and (nations) simply need to make very clear to Russian society that while they are supporting that war, they are not welcome in Europe or any civilised country."

It comes a week after Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Australia to brand Russia a terrorist state during a video address to students in Canberra.

The establishment of a legal framework in Europe to designate Russia a terrorist state will also help hold the Kremlin to account for atrocities committed in Ukraine, the Latvian foreign minister says.

"Labelling Russia as the state sponsor of terrorism at that point ... it is also easier to work on those details on how to investigate, prosecute, and eventually have court proceedings against those officials who are directly responsible for waging the aggressive war," he said.

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"We have the International Criminal Court, we have the International Court of Justice, but the crime of aggression actually does not fall under the responsibility of those.

"We need to address war crimes and genocide."

Such a legal framework would be based on the US system, where the designation of a nation as a terrorist sponsor restrictions US foreign assistance and other financial transactions, bans defence exports and sales as well as puts in place controls over other exports.

The White House currently designates four nations as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Mr Rinkevics also called for the continuation of military support to Ukraine.

"We must ... actually increase military assistance because, unfortunately, Russia is continuing its aggression," he said.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong says the government is committed to holding Russia to account for its actions against Ukraine.

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"The previous government and this government are committed to holding Russia to account for its illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine," Senator Wong said at the joint media conference.

The two foreign ministers also discussed the Australian-Latvian relationship, the progress of the EU trade agreement, and mutual respect for human rights and sovereignty.

"I was also really interested in discussing and sharing perspectives on the situation in the Pacific region ... like the developments (of) Chinese actions," Mr Rinkevics said.

"It is very important to understand China is also really carefully watching what is happening in Europe, what is happening in Ukraine.

"From that point of view, it is really important that we work together and we provide the same kind of message of the need to have restraint, not to over-react ... and not to create another regional or global conflict."

The bilateral meeting follows the opening of the Latvian embassy in Canberra, the first in the southern hemisphere.

"That's a testament to the strength of the relationship," Senator Wong said.

Russia Vows Revenge at the Latest Country to Cross Putin .
Latvia’s parliament has moved to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine—and the Kremlin does not appear to be taking it well. Russia is committing a “genocide against the Ukrainian people,” Latvian MPs said in a statement Thursday, according to AFP. Russia “uses suffering and intimidation as tools in its attempts to weaken the morale of the Ukrainian people and armed forces, and to paralyze the functioning of the state in order to occupy Ukraine.

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