Kallas: Russia should be pushed out of Ukraine

Kaja Kallas.
Kaja Kallas. Source: Patrik Tamm / ERR

Russia should be pushed out of Ukraine and the allies' should not make the same mistakes again — if so Russia's aggression will be justified, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said in an interview on Friday.

Kallas was asked by the UK's BBC on Friday (April 29) what is the endpoint of the war and what is the West's aim? As previously stated, Kallas said the West should hope Ukraine wins the war and Russian President Vladimir Putin loses.

"And why? Because if there is some kind of peace agreement, some kind of Cold War going on and everyone stays where they are, then the aggression really pays off. So, not only [do] you take part of a neighbor's land by force but you get appeasement in the end and we shouldn't allow that. Right now the West should give Ukraine the military aid it needs to fight Russia so that Russia is pushed back and will get this message."

Asked where Russia should be pushed back to, she said: "Pushed back to Russia."

The presenter said "eyebrows have been raised" over comments made by the UK's foreign minister this week saying Russia should be "kicked out of Ukraine", including out of Donbas and Crimea.

Kallas said she agrees with the UK's comments: "We have made the mistake already three times." If Crimea and Donbas are forgotten about then the "aggression pays off".

"There is a pause of one year, two years, and then everything will continue, the atrocities will continue, the human suffering will continue and we shouldn't be making that mistake again. Clearly, we have to get this message through that aggression never pays off," she said, adding this is a signal to every dictator in the world who wants to take a chunk out of a neighboring country.

Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense Kusti Salm also said he welcomed the comments this week and that this had been Estonia's stance since the start of the war.

Asked if this "maximalist" stance could provoke Russia to retaliate further as the country may feel "pushed backed against the wall", she said: "First of all, they are not pushed against a wall, they are pushed back to Russia. I mean, that is the point. They are currently in a sovereign country and they are trying to take over it and they should be pushed back."

Kallas also dismissed arguments about provoking Russia.

"We have made this already mistake several times. The arguments have been exactly the same. "Oh let's not provoke Russia, what more could they do with this?" And what happens? It's forgiven and they do all those things because they can get away with aggression, the first time, the second time, the third time. That's why we shouldn't make that same mistake again, we have already fallen for those arguments that it is considered a provocation," she said.

The prime minister said Russia's threats about using nuclear weapons are made to scare people and we should not be "Influenced by this fear".

The root cause of Russia's behavior is that the Soviet Union was never punished for its "imperialistic dream", Kallas said.

"The Nazis' crimes have been widely condemned, but the communist crimes are not condemned and the imperialistic dream, the support for Stalinism — that brought great atrocities to many countries, millions were killed — that's why there is great support in Russia for those steps that Putin is making and we shouldn't go [along] with this," she told the BBC.

Kallas said the EU must strive for unity even though it is getting harder and said she understands why some leaders struggle.

"Those countries that have better neighbors than we do struggle explaining to their people one or another step that may hurt their population with higher prices why this kind of step is necessary. But for me, I think, for me, we all need to have this understanding that our neighbors' problems today are our problems tomorrow. If we don't put out their house fire it might spread to ours. It is our common European Security that is at risk here," she said.

Listen to the interview here, starting at 5:30.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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