Mihkelson: Estonia could close Russian consulates in Tartu and Narva
Chairman of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) would not expel the Russian ambassador but proposes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs close the Russian consulates in Tartu and Narva.
"We first need to ask ourselves what we want to achieve. Yes, it would be resonant as a symbolic step, but would it change Russia's behavior and military activity in Ukraine? Hardly. Would we lose a good chunk of our allied information capacity in Russia? Yes, maybe," Mihkelson said.
The MP said that Estonia should consult its allies, adding that there are plenty of diplomatic options that would be just as effective as recalling the ambassador.
"My recommendation would be to seriously consider closing Russian consulates in Estonia to reduce Russia's diplomatic presence," Mihkelson said.
The committee chairman added that this would likely see Russia close its consulates in Pskov and Saint Petersburg.
Mihkelson emphasized that Russia's aggression against Ukraine has not reached its culmination yet. "We need to focus our diplomatic energy on three main activities: arming Ukraine as best we can, ramping up sanctions and strengthening the security of the Baltic countries," Mihkelson said.
"Our main goal would be for Russia to suffer a strategic defeat in its war against Ukraine. We can achieve that goal not as individual states but as the West united. And I am convinced our diplomats at the foreign ministry are working on and coordinating steps based on how we could best put pressure on Russia together," Mihkelson remarked.
Lithuania said on Monday that it recalled its ambassador to Russia and ordered the Russian ambassador in Vilnius to leave the country.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski