EKRE leader: Estonia has long since exceeded capacity for Ukraine refugees
Estonia needs to continue supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia by sending all manner of aid and offering political support, while no more Ukrainian refugees should be allowed to enter Estonia because their number already exceeds what we can facilitate, leader of the opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Martin Helme told Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" news program.
"Estonia has done a great deal. /…/ We were the first country to send them weapons. We have sent medical assistance, humanitarian aid and money, stood up for them on the international arena, passed several statements in support in the Riigikogu," Helme listed.
He added, however, that Estonia should not accept any more war refugees as it would constitute living beyond our means. "We have long since exceeded our capacity to help them. /…/ We cannot assume this obligation, the sums in the supplementary budget are astronomical," Helme said.
The EKRE chair suggested that aid should go toward helping refugees in Ukraine and Estonia should stop allowing Ukrainians applying for the status of war refugee to cross the border.
Those already in the country having difficulties finding a job or lodging should be handed brochures that explain that it is possible to travel to Sweden or Germany from Estonia, he remarked.
Refugees arriving via the Narva border crossing should also be denied entry, the EKRE leader found.
"We are talking about helping Ukrainians. The politically inconvenient truth is that a lot of them are not Ukrainian but Russian. How has it happened that we are importing tens of thousands of pro-Putin Russians under the aegis of helping Ukraine? We cannot stand for that. /…/ Is there war in Russia? Russia is a safe country today. There is no war in Russia. Why do they need to leave Russia today?" Helme said.
West still pumping billions into Russia
Aid for Ukraine needs to continue, especially in the form of weapons, while Western countries must also say that the world will not recognize Russian conquests, Helme said.
"The West can clearly communicate that whichever parts [of Ukraine] Russia conquers, they would not be recognized. That whatever it achieves in this war is not acceptable diplomatically or in terms of international law by the rest of the world."
Helme said that Europe needs to wean itself off Russian energy as soon as possible, and while it will not be easy either economically or politically, it is inevitable.
Helme described the European Union's complacency as incomprehensible, as major consumers of Russian energy, led by Germany, are still sending Russia billions of euros.
"Germany and its energy policy are the main culprits. France is another ambivalent country that has tried to deal with Russia. I also have a bone to pick with Italy," the politician said.
Helme said that the only embargo that has really hurt Russia was the freezing of central bank assets.
"That really hurt Russia. All other sanctions, from banning Eurovision to seizures of superyachts, have symbolic significance but are not hurting Russia. Another thing that would hurt would be an energy embargo. But I cannot see major European countries taking any decisive steps here," Helme said.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski