Estonia summons Russian ambassador to condemn Putin's comments

Banners supporting Ukraine tied to temporary railings outside the Russian Embassy in Tallinn.
Banners supporting Ukraine tied to temporary railings outside the Russian Embassy in Tallinn. Source: Helen Wright / ERR

The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Russia's ambassador on Friday to condemn recent statements by President Vladimir Putin and the Russian State Duma on Narva, Lithuania and Ukraine.

Undersecretary Rein Tammsaar met with Ambassador Vladimir Lipaev to express regret over Putin's statement, including his comments about the Estonian city of Narva. See below.

At a time when Russia is implementing its revanchist policy informed by the Russian World (Russkyi Mir) ideology by trying to destroy the statehood and people of Ukraine, it is also completely unacceptable, a statement said.

He also raised comments made by Duma officials about the status of Lithuania's independence.

Considering Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the bill submitted to the Duma this week proposing to annul the regulation that recognized the independence of Lithuania and threats of 'denazification' and 'demilitarisation' against other countries are dangerous and irresponsible, Tammsaar said.

"Instead of striving toward respect for international law and basing its actions on the principle of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, Russia has attempted to use propaganda in addition to the army to implement its imperialist ambitions, including by falsifying history. This approach is doomed to failure and can eventually threaten Russia itself," a statement from the ministry said.

Estonia called on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine, end hostilities and respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

What did Putin say about Narva?

The River Narva on June 9, 2022. Source: Helen Wright / ERR

Speaking to young entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists attending the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 9, Putin paid tribute to Tsar Peter the Great on the 350th anniversary of his birth, drawing a parallel between what he portrayed as their twin historic quests to win back Russian lands.

In televised comments on day 106 of his war in Ukraine, he compared Peter's campaign with the task facing Russia today, Reuters reported.

"Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years. On the face of it, he was at war with Sweden taking something away from it… He was not taking away anything, he was returning. This is how it was. The areas around Lake Ladoga, where St Petersburg was founded. When he founded the new capital, none of the European countries recognized this territory as part of Russia; everyone recognized it as part of Sweden. However, from time immemorial, the Slavs lived there along with the Finno-Ugric peoples, and this territory was under Russia's control. The same is true of the western direction, Narva and his first campaigns. Why would he go there? He was returning and reinforcing, that is what he was doing."

Narva is Estonia's most eastern city and has a large Russian-speaking population. Narva and the Russian city of Ivangorod are split by the River Narva.

What did the Duma say about Lithuania?

Lithuanian flag. Source: Martin Dremljuga/ERR

A draft bill submitted to the Russian State Duma called for repealing the resolution of the Soviet Union State Council "On Recognising the Independence of the Republic of Lithuania", public broadcaster LRT reported earlier this week.

The bill was drafted by a member of the United Russia party, Evgeny Fedorov.

The draft bill follows a May resolution by the Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, recognizing Russia's war against Ukraine as genocide and Russia as a terrorist state.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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