Estonian MEP Yana Toom, who was the only Estonian representative not to give a supporting speech, nor vote for a resolution urging Russia to release abducted Estonian official Eston Kohver, said the resolution was bundled up with other, different, statements.
“Every case in the resolution demands separate processing, and dissecting different cases in one document was not, in my belief, justified,” she said. Kohver's resolution was tied to the arrest and sentencing of two Ukrainians in Crimea, which Russia annexed last year.
Toom said Kohver's case is not comparable to the others, adding that the abduction of Kohver cannot be compared to arresting normal citizens as Kohver was not a mushroom picker who got lost in the woods, but a NATO intelligence officer.
She added a number of questions have arisen, such as why did Kohver forgo the help of lawyers hired by Estonia, didn't appeal his 15-year sentence and why has he allegedly agreed to cooperate with the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency.
“It is clear 100 to 120 people usually vote against sanctions, but the high number of abstainers on a Russian resolution is unprecedented,” Toom said.
The European Parliament voted on Thursday to condemn Russia for sentencing Kohver and two Ukrainian citizens, with the resolution asking the EU authorities to add those involved in the cases to be blacklisted by the union.
The resolution was passed with 378 votes, including five out of six Estonian MEPs. 111 were against and 138, including Toom, abstained.
Editor: J.M. Laats