Ratas to EU colleagues: We must give Ukraine all the assistance it needs
President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas (Center) on Friday participated in an online meeting of the Nordic-Baltic (NB8) speakers of parliament as well as an online meeting of the speakers of EU parliaments hosted by President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola. The EU speakers' meeting was also attended by Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk.
All parliament speakers to take the floor at Friday's video meetings underlined that Russia's attack was a brutal war crime and that Putin's regime must end the bloodshed and military activities in Ukraine immediately, according to a Riigikogu press release.
Ratas stressed to his colleagues that the EU must give Ukraine all the assistance it needs in the accession process, adding that Estonia is ready to share its accession experiences and support Ukraine's development.
At the meeting of NB8 speakers, Ratas said that the countries in this region need to coordinate the supporting of Ukraine as much as possible.
"Today, Ukraine needs our strong political and economic support, as well as direct military and humanitarian aid," the president of the Riigikogu said.
"Many thanks to all the countries that have shown admirable unity and have already reached out a helping hand," he continued. "But the assistance must continue and there is still much to be done, because Putin's war continues, and Ukraine needs our help now more than ever."
Ratas believes that Western countries must present a united front to isolate Russia and Belarus in all spheres, from the suspending of their membership in international organizations to the economy, culture and sports. "It is not only Ukraine's war; they are also fighting now for the security and democracy of all of Europe," he pointed out.
All of the NB8 parliament speakers expressed support for Ukraine and highlighted the need for robust joint sanctions in order to halt Russia's aggressive military activities and information war. They also presented an outline of humanitarian and military aid provided. Ratas' Finnish and Swedish counterparts noted that, for them, granting military aid was an exceptional decision.
The Baltic and Polish speakers also detailed the aid being given to refugees.
The NB8 speakers' meeting was followed by a meeting of EU speakers which was also attended by Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk.
Stefanchuk provided an overview of the current situation in Ukraine, thanked EU member states for their support as well as introduced Ukraine's application for accession to the EU. He also stressed that sanctions must continue, and expand robustly to include Belarus as well.
The Ukrainian speaker also expressed hope that green corridors would be established for the provision of humanitarian aid soon, as several cities were without power and experiencing food shortages.
Participants of the meeting expressed their full support of Ukraine and stressed that the granting of the EU membership perspective and candidate country status to Ukraine must take into account accession criteria and be in line with Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla