Mihkelson to House of Commons committee: Ukraine war a modern-day genocide

Marko Mihkelson (left) with UK Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood. Both appeared on the 'Committee Corridor' podcast, to talk about Ukraine.
Marko Mihkelson (left) with UK Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood. Both appeared on the 'Committee Corridor' podcast, to talk about Ukraine. Source: UK Parliament

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a war criminal with whom no normalization of relations could ever happen, while the invasion of Ukraine is a brutal, genocidal war which affects all of Europe, and the West as a whole, chair of the Riigikogu's foreign affairs committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) says.

Mihkelson made his remarks while appearing on recent Westminster podcast entitled "Committee Corridor" and hosted by Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling, Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, and current Tory leadership hopeful, Tom Tugendhat.

The podcast is named after a real, physical location, the corridor which runs the entire length of the Palace of Westminster, the upper house, the Lords, down to the end of the lower house, the Commons.

Mihkelson and Tugendhat were joined on the podcast at Westminster by Rihards Kols chair of the foreign affairs committee at the Saeima, Latvia's parliament, and Conservative MP for Bournemouth East Tobias Ellwood, Chair of the House of Commons Defense Committee, who called the February 24 invasion of Ukraine a "huge wake-up" for European security.

At the same time, Tugendhat suggested, war fatigue is a growing concern as the conflict nears the start of its sixth month, vying for media attention with the growing energy crisis, which is albeit related to the conflict, in particular.

Mihkelson rejected any idea of normalized relations between Estonia and Russia for as long as the Putin regime remains in place.

He said: "I think with Putin's Russia, we won't have normal relations, not only between Estonia or Russia, but western countries and Russia. How the hell can we sit behind the same table with a war criminal? This is unimaginable."

"That brings us to the point why it is so essential today to coordinate better and help Ukraine to win their independence war. Because this is nothing else than the independence war for Ukraine, which was inevitable, actually, from very beginning of the Soviet Union, after the Soviet Empire collapsed, as the future of not only Russia and Ukraine, but also all of Europe is very much connected to this," Mihkelson went on. 

"What has happened in Ukraine and Russia's war – a heavy, brutal, genocidal war in the middle of Europe today, in the 21st century – we have to understand is a point where we have to finally become proactive, well put-together strategy, which really leads us to the strategic defeat of Russia," he went on.

Mihkelson noted Estonian support, among the largest in proportion to its GDP of any of the western countries providing aid to Ukraine, began with the 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea

Mihkelson was also able to bring to the table his experiences as a journalist covering the war in Chechnya in the imid-1990s, prior to the ascent of Vladimir Putin as leader, and horrific parallels between bombing, shelling and atrocities in Grozny and elsewhere, and the current conflict.

Both the Riigikogu and the Saeima voted unanimously in April in favor of a declaration to the effect that Russia had committed acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

The U.K. has led the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, which doubled in size following the February invasion, since its inception in early 2017, notwithstanding defense cuts which have been put in place in Britain in recent years.

The Committee Corridor asks tough, relevant questions, with the aim of, holding Her Majesty's Government to account, Tugendhat said in his introduction.

The podcast coincided with the Northern Neighbors Conference, hosted by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee last month, which saw the representatives of nine equivalent European parliamentary delegations gathered in Westminster to discuss the most pressing international and security challenges and how to coordinate responses.

The entire podcast, along with the transcript, can be listened to or read here.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: