New Defense Minister Hannes Hanso said Estonia still has many internal political problems with Russia, after the release of abducted Estonian official Eston Kohver.
“I am still astonished, when talking about Estonian-Russian relations, that we still have politicians and a party, who carry on reasoning that a treaty with United Russia is necessary, or when the European Parliament holds a vote on one of our citizens, then these people go for a walk instead, or that we have people in Parliament, who can not bring themselves to say that yes, Crimea has been occupied,” Hanso said on ETV's “Foorum” program.
He said the Kohver case was orchestrated from very high up in Russia and it is another clear sign of violating sovereignty, just as Russia had done earlier in Ukraine, Georgia and in other places, he said, adding that Estonia's message traveled much further than Russia's, in the information war.
National Defense Committee Chairman Marko Mihkelson said that for Estonia, security will still be the main topic in Estonian-Russian relations in the next few years.
“Border treaty ratification, if it were to happen, is certainly in our interests – precisely for the security reasons, so we can construct and shore up our border as well as possible,” Mihkelson said, adding that another important aspect is the presence of allied troops in Estonia and in other Baltic nations.
Urmas Paet, former long-serving foreign minister and current MEP, said there are always over 100 MEPs who vote against any resolution in the European Parliament criticizing Russia, adding that this shows the problem with information space. He said that debate on two-way influence on public opinion and politics between Russia and Europe is important.
Former Estonian ambassador to Moscow, current head of the International Center for Defense and Security, Jüri Luik, said that Estonia will see a serious political conflict over the border treaty. He said that any radical improvement in Estonian-Russian relations would be very difficult to achieve.
Luik said there are many in the West who misunderstand Russia, and Estonia must analyze and make public what is actually taking place. He added that there is always the danger that large powers say that the Minsk agreements have been fulfilled, adding that in that case, Estonia must stand up and tell the truth.
Editor: J.M. Laats