U.S. President Joe Biden's initiative for talks with Russia involving just UK, Germany, France and Italy has left Estonian politicians feeling uneasy as Eastern European NATO allies and Ukraine have been left out. Leo Kunnas and Marko Mihkelson compared Biden's move to the 1938 Munich conference.
Chairman of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) compared NATO and Russia talks to the Munich conference where Hitler imposed his will on European democracies in a social media post from Wednesday.
The Munich Agreement saw the UK, France and Italy hand the Sudetenland over to Germany in 1938 and settle for assurances that no more land would be annexed in Europe.
"We can really smell Munich in the air today. In other words, trying to appease an aggressor that has pointed his guns at you," Mihkelson told "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Thursday.
"Bringing in four European countries to talk to Russia over the heads of Eastern Europe and Ukraine is not a very sensible idea," committee deputy chair Leo Kunnas (EKRE) said.
"President Biden should not act like Neville Chamberlain who represented Britain at the Munich conference in 1938. Instead, he should emulate Winston Churchill," Kunnas added.
Politicians fear that talks proposed by the U.S. president will take place on conditions dictated by his Russian counterpart.
"It is somewhat of an unpleasant surprise that we are willing to listen to Russia's attempt to gain a veto right in the European security architecture, talking about Russia's suggestion that NATO should guarantee it will never expand eastward," Mihkelson said.
Head of the Penta Center of Applied Political Surveys in Kiev Volodymyr Fesenko does not believe Ukraine will allow itself to be pressured – especially in terms of granting autonomy to parts of Donetsk and Luhansk that former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed six years ago.
"Poroshenko seemingly agreed. Russia has been demanding it for six years with no success. It is unacceptable to most political leaders and the Ukrainian society," Fesenko said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski