MP: Putin will always resort to force if stakes not too high
Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, is always ready to use military force if the price tag for doing so is not too high, Isamaa MP Urmas Reinsalu says.
Speaking to ETV politics show "Esimene stuudio" Tuesday evening and in the light of the recent Russian military buildup on its border with Ukraine, Reinsalu said: "We have seen that the activity that has characterized Putin's actions is that if he can get a low enough price tag, he is always ready to use force."
"We must openly admit that the fact that he is not using force against the Baltic States is not a question of his generosity, kindness or respect for international law, but simply because he calculates that the price tag would be too high," Reinsalu, a former foreign minister, added.
"In that sense, I agree with U.S. security analysts who stated in a public letter at the end of December that the West must already establish, deploy and enforce its sanctions package and say that if Russia launches a further military offensive, it will be implemented automatically," Reinsalu continued.
Estonia's stance on the crisis has been pitched correctly, he added.
"I think that the current standing up for the vital interests of Estonia is neither less, nor more, than should be required," he added.
Reinsalu also said that in the event of conflict, Estonia should try to accept displaced persons from Ukraine to as great an extent as possible. "We definitely have to think of people, first and foremost."
The picture is overall complicated by Putin's unpredictability, Reinsalu went on, noting the examples of Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war, starting in 2015, or the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
The stakes have also been raised, but at the same time western unity and resolve has recently improved after a patchy period earlier on in the crisis, the MP said.
Fears of a Russian military incursion this week mounted as U.S. intelligence officials said they had obtained detailed Russian military plans. Around 120,000 Russian Federation troops are thought to be massed on the border with Ukraine.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte