Foreign minister: Ukraine fighting for the whole of Europe
Estonia is standing by its EU values and in support of allies in its resolve to support the Ukrainian people, following the unprovoked recent invasion of that country by the Russian Federation.
Speaking after an EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting in Brussels Friday, Liimets said: "Ukraine needs our full support, since the Ukrainian people are fighting for the whole of Europe."
This made it: "Important to grant Ukraine candidate country status," the minister went on, according to a press release.
The FAC meeting's agenda included coordination of assistance to Ukraine and options for exerting even stronger pressure on Russia to halt its hostilities.
The EU's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in conjunction with NATO, was crucial, Liimets continued.
She said: "The strongest possible response to Russia's military aggression is unified and well-coordinated action by the EU and NATO, both in imposing sanctions and offering support and help to Ukraine, to relieve its suffering as a result of the war."
The EU has taken firm action in imposing sanctions to prevent the financing of the war, Liimets said. "As regards financial sanctions, restricting Russia's access to the SWIFT system has had a significant impact. However, we think that more sanctions must be applied," adding that the international community's condemnation of Russia's war on Ukraine and desire to bring it to an end was evidenced also by the Council of Europe's swift suspension of Russia's membership and the UN's resolution on ending the war.
Liimets also emphasized Estonia's support for giving Ukraine a clear EU accession perspective and granting it candidate country status, while simultaneously also offering support to other partners
"It is important that the EU and partners also back Moldova, as in addition to Russia putting pressure on the country, that country is also receiving large numbers of refugees from Ukraine," Liimets said.
Friday's meeting in Brussels was also attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, U.K. foreign secretary Liz Truss and Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly, while Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, also attended via video link.
Aligning the positions of the U.S., the U.K. and Canada and to find more ways to assist Ukraine was the main purpose of the meeting, whose agenda also related to the NATO members states' foreign ministers' meeting on the same day and which Liimets also attended.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte