West Should Reconsider Agreements with Russia, Professor Says

Jüri Saar (Ülo Josing/ERR)
5/20/2014 11:05 AM
Category: Politics

The "force majeure" that Russia is exerting in Ukraine provides the West with the opportunity to review its agreements with that country, professor of criminology at the University of Tartu Jüri Saar writes.

In his opinion piece in the daily Eesti Päevaleht today, Saar said that Russia’s recent actions have an effect on the normal practice in international relations.

The assumption that Russia is a strategic partner that can be positively included in an increasing number of ways turned out to be wrong, and Russia is now an open opponent of the West, capable of taking steps that could further escalate the situation, he writes.

Previous agreements, such as the sale of Mistral class landing ships by France to Russia, should be reviewed in light of the new security situation - the sale was made in 2011, when Russia was considered a partner, but now the ships would change the balance of power in the region. Two other major contracts are the agreement on the training of Russian special forces by the German company Rheinmetall, and the contract on gas supplies from Russia to Ukraine.

“It is completely inappropriate to pretend that nothing has changed and claim that France should pay hefty fines when it cancels the shipment,” Saar wrote, adding that if the contracts, which have not been made public, lack provisions for force majeure (a common clause in contracts that frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations), it indicates a case of corruption at a high level.

Saar also stressed that NATO no longer considers Russia a partner and if a member state continues to interact with Russia as a partner, it raises the issue of the relationship between NATO as a defense organization and the competence of its member states.

He also said it would be strange to assume that Ukraine kept the gas supplies contract with Russia, when the latter has changed the contract unilaterally and is now waging aggression against Ukraine.


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