Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas has announced that in the coming days, Estonia will make a proposal to the EU member states to open a debate on expanding sanctions against Russia.
“Nearly 60 people have been killed and more than a hundred people have been wounded in the attacks that took place in the eastern part of Ukraine over the weekend,” Rõivas said after the cabinet meeting on Monday. “Attacks against civilians must be considered as the escalation of the conflict initiated by Russia.”
Government’s position is that the European Union must respond in a joint and firm manner. “Estonia would like to discuss further restrictive measures of the European Union at the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union and their rapid adoption,” the foreign minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus added.
Rõivas also intends to express the same position at the forthcoming European Council. Rõivas added that Russia has to start to fulfil its obligations under the Minsk agreements. “Russia must stop supporting separatists, adhere to the ceasefire and withdraw its troops and equipment from Ukraine.”
At the hastily gathered cabinet meeting, the government also discussed Estonia’s options to provide bilateral support to Ukraine. According to Pentus-Rosimannus, there is a great need for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. “This year, Estonia provides 2.35 million euros as development and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, which is two times more than last year,” the foreign minister said.
Defense minister Sven Mikser said that the aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine will be also discussed at the meeting of NATO defense ministers next week. “Military confrontation has escalated and even more new evidence emerges on the fact that the regular units of the Russian Federation are directly participating in it,” Mikser said. “Ukraine has not been militarily fractured, but still firmly standing and fighting for itself.”
According to Mikser, it is important that the international community stands beside Ukraine and the sanctions, and continue to assert political pressure on Russia.
Editor: S. Tambur, M. Oll