Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Misker said on Tuesday that he did not support the idea of easing sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of its actions in Ukraine as a reward for Moscow cooperating in some other area.
"The sanctions that have been imposed on Russia in connection with the military activity in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, they have been imposed for a specific reason and a review, lifting or easing of the sanctions can happen, in Estonia's view and in accordance with the view generally accepted in Europe, based on how Russia fulfills its obligations under the Minsk Agreement or how the territorial integrity of Uraine is restored, as far as Crimea is concerned," Mikser said at a press conference on Tuesday.
"These are the criteria," the minister reiterated. "Rewarding Russia for whatever other steps in the form of the easing or lifting of these sanctions would be an extremely negative step which Estonia would definitely not support."
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview with the Times and Bild on Monday that he was prepared to ease sanctions on Russia if an agreement were reached with Russia on significant reductions in the numbers of nuclear arms, for instance.
"The U.S. can certainly implement its policies as a sovereign country," Mikser commented, adding, however, that Estonia would like to see the U.S. act on matter such as this by consulting very throughly and coordinating its positions with the EU as well as member states thereof.
"Nor have I noticed during the hours following the publication of this interview any particular enthusiasm on Russia's part to table the nuclear file, so to speak, in order to earn the easing of sanctions as a reward," he noted. "I believe that the new U.S. administration can definitely come up with initiatives having to do with nuclear disarmament, but they shouldn't be bundled together with the issue of sanctions on Russia."
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla