EU Should Consider Embargo on Weapons Sales to Russia, Paet Says ({{commentsTotal}})

Urmas Paet Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said today that no definite decisions have been made on the third round of sanctions on Russia but an embargo on weapons sales should be one of the first issues on the agenda.

After the Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, the foreign ministers of the European Union decided to impose sanctions on 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials.

There is still no decision on a second round of sanctions, which would mean financial restrictions, Paet told at a press briefing today.

“If we think further, the first most logical issue should concern a weapons embargo. Seeing that all EU countries clearly agree that everything happening in Ukraine is a Russian aggression, then an embargo on weapons sales should be the first step. It has been discussed briefly, but no decisions have been made,” Paet said.

France, for example, is mulling the cancellation of the sale of Mistral class landing ships if Russia expands its military intervention in Ukraine, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday. But he said that would be a measure in a third round of sanctions. 

Estonia’s position is that an embargo needs to be discussed but the cancellation of the sale of Mistrals is mainly France’s decision.

Paet added that speculations over the possible economic damage the sanctions could cause to Estonia is not a sticking point yet, as economic sanctions have not been discussed in detail.

The EU and Ukraine could sign the political part of the association agreement at Thursday’s European Council meeting, Paet said, adding that preparations should also be made for holding free and fair elections.

From IRL, the Estonian party that organized a demonstration at the French embassy on Monday, MEP Tunne Kelam weighed in with a further proposal today, saying that France should consider contributing one of the Mistrals to NATO for use on the Baltic Sea. 

"We expect more from France," he said in a statement, "the immediate halting of the Mistral deal."


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