MEP: EU must send clearer sanctions message to Putin

Riho Terras speaking to 'Ringvaade' from Brussels on Wednesday.
Riho Terras speaking to 'Ringvaade' from Brussels on Wednesday. Source: ERR

The European Union must give clearer messages to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, on what would happen in the event of military escalation on Ukraine's borders, including with a sanctions package which would be put in place if that were to transpire, MEP Riho Terras (Isamaa) says.

Terras told ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" via live link from Brussels Wednesday that: "The European Council should put together a very clear package and say, for our part, that good Russia, if that happens, we will do it."

"If European leaders do not show unity, I think Putin, as an opportunist, will take the opportunity and have the opportunity to march on Kiev," Terras, who is a former Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) commander, continued.

This opportunism may even comprise of a false-flag attack within the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been waging an insurgency war with official Ukrainian forces for over seven years, and could also see a line drawn between it and the migrant crisis on the Belarus-EU border, which started in summer.

"If this does not happen, there will be a situation where Ukrainians can be accused of attacking the Russians with some kind of weapon in Donetsk, and this will give an incentive to march in from Donetsk, link up units on the Ukrainian border with those on the Belarusian border, and with the Pskov airborne division and attack Kyiv, which is very close both to the borders of Russia and Belarus. So the war would be according to a plan of classical operations," Terras said.

An even wider view than this should also be taken into account, Terras continued, citing the situation in Bosnia, where Serb separatists have reportedly been threatening conflict, and the presence of Russian private mercenaries in the Central African Republic and in Mali – the latter an important theater of operations for the EDF at present, via the French-led Operation Barkhane and the special forces-based Operation Takuba.

At the same time, Putin fears modern armaments being sent to Ukraine from the western countries.

While the U.S. has presented a sanctions package which would be imposed on Putin should military action begin, the EU so far has not.

Without a clear message from Europe, via debates in the European Parliament or at the European Council, this military escalation could happen, the MEP added.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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