Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Tuesday she is working to create new sanctions against Russian for human rights abuses while criticizing the visit of the European Unions' foreign minister Josep Borrell to Moscow last week.
"I agree with those who believe the timing of the EU high representative's visit, agenda and messages were badly thought through," she told ERR.
Kallas said that Borrell will certainly give explanations and assessments of his view of the Moscow visit but it is more important to assess Russia's actions. "Russia's goal was obviously humiliating Borrell and attacking the unity of the European Union," she said.
"Announcing European diplomats are persona non grata during the visit, foreign minister [Sergei] Lavrov's cynical propaganda press conference and, in the context of the persecution of political opponents and arrests of peaceful protesters, is a good lesson for everyone who was under the illusion that today there is the possibility to enter a sincere dialogue with Russia and for a mutually beneficial relationship," Kallas said.
The prime minister said it is clear that Russia is not interested in substantive dialogue with the European Union and it is time that was realized.
"In the following weeks, I will have a range of telephone conversations with European colleagues who wish to discuss EU-Russia relations. Soon, there will be also EU-Russia relations discussions in the framework of the European Council. At the same time we are working to establish sanctions on Russia for infringing human rights," she said.
Borrell visited Russia on behalf of the European Union on Friday and took part in a meeting with Sergei Lavrov which has been called a "fiasco" and "failure" by many, including Estonia's MEPs and foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets.
Editor: Helen Wright