Foreign Ministry Cagey on Adding Yakunin to Sanctions List ({{commentsTotal}})

Russian Railways director Vladimir Yakunin in (left) and Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar in 2010
Russian Railways director Vladimir Yakunin in (left) and Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar in 2010 Source: Photo: Den za Dnjom/Scanpix
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not confirm reports that Estonia suggested Vladimir Yakunin, head of the Russian Railways, to be included in the list of people subject to European Union sanctions imposed for destabilizing Ukraine.  

At a forum on railways, held in Sochi on June 20, Yakunin said that prejudice and hatred of Russians in Estonia is nothing new and it was Estonia that suggested adding him to the list of people to be sanctioned by the EU and the US for destabilizing Ukraine, Delfi reported today.

The foreign ministry’s spokesperson Minna-Liina Lind told Russian-language Delfi that she cannot confirm Yakunin’s statement.

“The member states of the European Union make common decisions regarding the persons liable to restrictions in connection with activities that damage or threaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence,” she said.

Yakunin made his comments in response to a question by a Russian-language Delfi journalist, who asked whether Estonia, in light of the events in Crimea, is foolish to fear an attack from Russia.

Yakunin also said that “Russia only meant to warn Ukraine, when then-president Viktor Yanukovych was unthinkingly going to sign an association agreement with the EU, and then Maidan erupted.”

“In my view, frankly speaking, the Estonian government institutions produce only one thing for the Americans - hatred of Russia and it is disgusting,” he went on to say.

Yakunin has long-time ties to Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar of the Center Party, seen as pro-Russian. Savisaar faced a no-confidence vote at the capital’s city council this winter, because when visiting the Olympic Games, his expenses in Sochi were paid for by the Russian Railways, the major sponsor of the games.