Parliament Votes to Support Ukraine's Territorial Integrity
In a special session, the Parliament today approved a motion in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine and stressing the need to send international observers into Ukraine immediately.
The motion, submitted by 63 MPs, was approved by 75 MPs, with no abstentions and only Mihhail Stalnuhhin from the Center Party voting against.
The special session was initiated by the head of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Marko Mihkelson, who told ETV on Monday that although Parliament had a session-free week, the weekend's events in Ukraine merited parliamentary debate.
The session began with a speech by Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, who reiterated that Russian’s actions constitute an aggression and said the priority is stopping the military from taking over new sites in Ukraine. He stressed that it is vital to annul the decision of the Russian Parliament that gave President Vladimir Putin a mandate to use military force in Ukraine unilaterally.
The minister also floated the idea of increasing defense spending.
He listed free presidential and parliamentary elections, inclusion of all social groups, financial help as vital steps for stabilizing the situation in Ukraine. Gas supplies are also a central issue - a price hike is likely, and more radical steps cannot be ruled out, he noted, adding that alternative scenarios and alternative energy sources for the country should be sought.
Answering questions from MPs, Paet said that so far, international organizations have looked to OSCE but a consensus is unlikely, as Russia is a member.
The minister also said the EU needs to send a clear message to Ukraine about its EU outlook and Estonia is ready to express its support immediately, even though Brussels prefers to wait until presidential elections have been held.
Paet said there is no direct security threat to Estonia, but Russia is unpredictable and for as long as the aggression continues, the security situation in the whole of Europe has changed.
According to Paet’s assessment, no country has expressed unequivocal support to Russia’s actions, Paet said in response to a MP’s question.
After the Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to relay Estonia’s positions on the situation, no direct contacts with Russian diplomats have taken place, Paet said, adding that there has also been no new contacts regarding the ratification of the border agreement.
When Juku-Kalle Raid from the IRL faction asked the minister about German and French weapons sales to Russia, he responded that Estonia supports an embargo on sales, but even though EU leaders have admitted that Russia is an aggressor in the situation, there is currently no consensus on the issue.
According to Paet, “a significant portion” of EU member states support sanctions, but a consensus is needed.