President Karis to meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv Tuesday

President of Estonia Alar Karis.
President of Estonia Alar Karis. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

President Alar Karis is to visit Kyiv Tuesday and will meet with his Ukrainian capital Volodymyr Zelenskyy amid a deteriorating security situation and following Monday's announcement by Vladimir Putin that Russia recognizes the 'independence' of two breakaway eastern regions of Ukraine, Lugansk and Donetsk.

President Karis said: "The Kremlin's decision to recognize the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine as separate states further exacerbates the current security crisis in Europe, and clearly demonstrates that Moscow abandoned diplomacy and opted for aggression instead."

"I am going to Ukraine at one of the most difficult times for that country and its people in facing the aggression of recent years. Ukraine has strong support from Estonia, as well as from NATO and the EU. Estonia will never agree with Russia's illegal decision to destroy Ukraine's integrity. part of Ukraine, as well as Crimea," Karis continued.

The Estonian president will also meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal while in the Ukrainian capital.

As to further EU sanctions on Russia, Karis said: "The EU has no choice - we must quickly and unanimously impose new and effective sanctions on Russia."

Karis also said that some of the new sanctions would target specific individuals.

Following Tuesday's meeting, the two heads of state are to hold a joint press conference, starting from 11.50 a.m. Estonian time, which can be viewed via the Ukrainian presidential social media page here.

Karis said Monday evening that Estonia would never recognize the independence of the two breakaway republics, calling the development a move by Moscow aimed at deepening the conflict and not solving It.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that the development was a "serious escalation".

Estonia's foreign minister, Eva-Maria Liimets, is also set to visit Kyiv Wednesday to Friday this week.

The U.K. and U.S. are both imposing additional sanctions on Russia following Monday's announcement.

After a highly choreographed set of speeches made by top Kremlin officials Monday calling for Putin to recognize Donetsk and Lugansk "independence and sovereignty", Putin made a short, televised address saying Russia was doing just that, calling the decision to do so "long overdue".


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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