President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that he hopes Estonia will support Ukraine in the UN Security Council when it becomes a non-permanent member in 2021-2022.
"I congratulate Estonia on being elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. I'm sure Ukraine's efforts in restoring its territorial integrity will merit strong support from Estonia there," Zelensky said during a joint press conference with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on Tuesday.
Zelensky thanked Estonia for refusing to recognize Russian passports issued in occupied Eastern Ukraine. "We are grateful for financial, technical, humanitarian and military aid Estonia has provided to Ukraine," Zelensky said, adding that Estonia has provided the most aid to Ukraine per capita. He also thanked Estonia for defense cooperation and for allowing 182 Ukrainian soldiers to get rehabilitation in Estonia.
Zelensky also voiced interest in joining join the Three Seas Initiative the next summit of which should be held in Estonia next year. The Three Seas Initiative is a flexible political platform at the presidential level, launched in 2015. The Initiative includes the 12 EU Member States located between the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black Seas: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Initiative seeks to contribute to the economic development of Central and Eastern Europe through infrastructure connectivity, mainly, but not only on the North-South axis, in three main fields — transport, energy and digital. The second objective is to increase real convergence among EU member states, thereby contributing to enhanced unity and cohesion within the EU. This allows avoiding artificial East-West divides and further stimulate EU integration. Thirdly, the initiative is intended to contribute to the strengthening of transatlantic ties. The U.S. economic presence in the region provides a catalyst for an enhanced transatlantic partnership.
Kaljulaid emphasized the importance of security of investments
President Kersti Kaljulaid emphasized Estonia's support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and the country's development, pointing out several cooperation projects between the two countries.
"Estonia stands firm in its support for Ukraine's territorial integrity. It is important to move toward a political solution. At the same time, the international public must not forget for a second that we do not have a conflict of two equal sides. It is clearly a situation where there is an aggressor and a victim. It is partial annexation and occupation of Ukraine. I urge the international community to demand the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty," Kaljulaid said.
"Estonia supports Ukraine's EU and NATO ambitions. Yes, it takes time, but both options need to remain open for Ukraine," the president added.
Asked about her visit to the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine, Kaljulaid said how the people she met close to the front gave her a picture of the conflict. If the people from the separatists' side dared not speak because they were not free, citizens on the Ukrainian side also dared talk about the bad things. "This alone is enough for a conclusion of who is right in this conflict," Kaljulaid found.
She paid special attention to promoting anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine and emphasized the need for security of investments.
The Ukrainian market is vast, we are close in terms of our history and culture and Estonian entrepreneurs are interested and prepared to invest in Ukraine," the president said.
"We believe Ukraine has the potential to become a regional economic powerhouse. However, this requires investors to be given certainty in terms of the security of their investments," Kaljulaid stressed, adding that specific problems are being addressed in Ukraine.
The meeting between Kaljulaid and Zelensky on Tuesday was the fourth time the presidents met.
Editor: Marcus Turovski