EU member states are discussing the next package of Russia sanctions that need to be effective enough to allow Ukraine to win the war, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on the "Välisilm" foreign policy talk show on Monday.
Kallas said that the next round of sanctions needs to be severe. "They have not been enough until the war continues. These things have not been enough until Ukraine wins this war. We need to do more," she stressed.
The PM added that recent sanctions have had some effect. "They are having an effect, as why else would Russia be so keen on shaking them, why else blame Ukrainians. But it will take time. What really works is giving Ukraine military aid," she said.
Talks in the EU have revealed that some European countries are not keen on sanctioning Russian gas.
"Looking at the sources of funding for Putin's war machine, 40 percent comes from the sale of these products (oil and gas – ed.). I proposed that those who oppose sanctions in fear of losing access to Russian gas following the Iran and Iraq model – paying money into accounts that can later be used to rebuild Ukraine. /…/ Unfortunately, this has not merited full support. I hope that the horrible images we have seen (from Buca – ed.) will convince more than a few that we do not have the time to wait," Kallas said.
Asked why Estonia did not join Lithuania in expelling the Russian ambassador, the PM said she prefers coordinating actions with other states as it has a greater effect.
"We recently expelled a lot of diplomats, including the deputy head of the embassy. Relevant discussions will continue. We need to realize that the step would leave us without a mission in Russia and spark a retaliation. But I am not ruling anything out at this point. The message would be stronger if we coordinated the move with partners. Our approach is to negotiate steps first and then take them together for extra impact," Kallas explained.
She said that all possible tools need to be used to put pressure on Russia. "Isolating Russia from all international organizations, sanctions, military aid for Ukraine, as well as diplomatic expulsions."
It is no longer possible to deal with Putin
Kallas also said on "Välisilm" that she did not understand recent criticism leveled at U.S. President Joe Biden who recently suggested Putin must not be allowed to stay in power in Russia.
"What he said was that we are dealing with a war criminal. I do not see any way of returning to business as usual with Putin. This mistake has been made twice before after Putin has attacked Ukraine. Trying for a deal to leave these territories in limbo and get on with our lives. We must not make that mistake again," Kallas urged.
The PM said that this would buy Putin a few years to gather strength after which it would be more of the same and worse. "I cannot see a way we could go back to Putin's Russia and deal with him as if nothing had happened," the Estonian premiere said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski