Kaljurand: EU united on sanctions against Russia, release of Savchenko
The positions of the European Union’s member states regarding relations with Russia were more united than reported in the media, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand (independent) said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Returning from Monday’s meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels, Kaljurand said that she was glad they were so much more united than she would have thought before the discussion. "The positions that are introduced in a country’s capital and what is later said in the European Union behind a table are very different things,” she said.
The EU members agreed on their positions regarding Russia as well as Iran, Syria, and other global issues, Kaljurand said.
International media reported that Italy, Hungary and Greece were much friendlier toward Russia, and would like to ease the current sanctions against the country. Hungary and Italy stressed on Monday that the extension of sanctions against Russia couldn't be automatic.
Commenting on this, Kaljurand said that last week that the EU had unanimously decided to extend sanctions against persons connected to the conflict in Ukraine.
EU demands immediate release of Nadiya Savchenko
Asked about the EU’s planned demand to release Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko, Kaljurand said that she supported it, and that EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had also issued a strong declaration of support. “In the next few days a demarche from the European Union should be delivered to Moscow to demand Savchenko's release," Kaljurand said.
Savchenko was kidnapped in Eastern Ukraine on Jun. 17, 2014, and taken to Russia, where she faces charges of complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists in Eastern Ukraine on the day she was kidnapped. The two men died in a mortar attack of Ukrainian troops on a supposed rebel position. Ukrainian authorities confirmed that the journalists weren’t accredited and didn’t comply with safety regulations.
While still detained in Russia, Savchenko was made a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 26 Jan., 2015, which gave her diplomatic immunity. Russia still didn’t release her.
On Mar. 4, 2016, Savchenko went on a hunger strike, refusing both food and water, to protest against the illegal trial and demand her return to Ukraine.
On Mar. 10, the Riigikogu called on the Russian Federation to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko and hand her over to Ukraine.
The Riigikogu also called for the officials of the Russian Federation responsible for the capture, detention and illegal trial of Nadiya Savchenko to be banned from entering the European Union.