Estonian MP: Ukraine is an obsession for Russia

Marko Mihkelson.
Marko Mihkelson. Source: ERR

Getting Ukraine has been an obsession for Russia for decades, Marko Mihkelson (Reform), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu said on Monday.

Speaking on ETV's "Ringvaade" show, Mihkelson said according to Ukrainian intelligence Russia has plans to attack Ukraine, something U.S. intelligence has also suggested.

The member of parliament said Ukraine has been an obsession for Russia for a long time.

"Russia - unfortunately not only the current leadership - is obsessed with the fact that Russia must be great and extend from the Carpathians to Kamchatka," he said.

"As early as 1991, when Ukraine declared its independence on August 24, the then Russian leadership, which was quite pro-democratic, threatened Ukraine with war. It is like an obsession that has been on the minds of the Russian leadership for a long time."

Mihkelson said Russian President Vladimir Putin does not want Ukraine taking any more steps towards NATO or the European Union.

Even if Russia does not attack, Moscow could escalate tensions in order to worry the West, Mihkelson added.

He said tensions between Russia and the West are growing and that Estonia's eastern neighbor should "never be underestimated".

Mihkelson said Russia has been at war since the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and there have been conflicts in Georgia and Ukraine in recent years. 

"Russia is in a very aggressive mood right now. Perhaps the most dangerous thing is that Russia does not seem to be prepared to find any common ground on the diplomatic level at the moment," he said.

The politician said if the conflict should escalate, the Ukrainian army is now much stronger than it was at the beginning of the conflict.

"There are 400,000 people in Ukraine with military experience who have gone through the front in the last eight years. [...] They know what they stand for and who the enemy is. I do not see them giving up the fight for their homeland," Mihkelson said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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