MEP: West must convince Russia it is pointless to attack Ukraine

SDE MEP Sven Mikser.
SDE MEP Sven Mikser. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Western countries must make it clear to Russia with strong deterrence that a further attack on Ukraine will not pay off, Estonian MEP and former foreign minister Sven Mikser has said.

Speaking on radio show "Vikerhommik" on Tuesday morning, Mikser (SDE) said: "You have to be vigilant, be very strong in your messages and make it clear to Russia that if a new adventure is launched, the damage to Russia will outweigh the expected benefits - this is the general principle of deterrence."

He added that Russia is a rational player in international relations: "[I]t is ready to do things for which it expects the benefits to outweigh the costs. And if you can say that this is not the case, then it gives up or considers them much more seriously."

The MEP said Russia has launched two aggressive military campaigns against its neighbors this century, which is unprecedented around the world. He said Russia probably has unfinished business with Ukraine.

"There is no doubt that Russia's ambitions in Ukraine go far beyond what they achieved in 2014. And what is happening in Ukraine is an unfinished operation from Russia's point of view [...] If the international community is not vigilant enough, or resolute and discouraging in its messages, the situation could get worse again," the SDE politicians said.

The former foreign minister said western democracies must demand Russia comply with international law, "renounce military aggression" and its "demands against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors".

Mikser said Russia may be concentrating forces on Ukraine's border to increase its negotiating power. "But Russia has started more serious kinetic operations in the past under the guise of such large force movements. So neither option can be ruled out," he added.

Estonia must help Ukraine morally, politically and in every other way, Mikser said, adding that some countries have also decided to help Ukraine by supplying military equipment.

"Russia will certainly not hesitate if it believes that it will be able to achieve its goals without paying too high a price. They will not hesitate to use military force. So it is also our job collectively in the West to make Russia believe that this is not possible," Mikser said.

In recent months, Russia has massed more than 90,000 troops and military equipment on Ukraine's eastern border. Some analysts believe a further invasion of the country is likely in the coming months.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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