Reinsalu: Putin and Russia must bear legal liability for Ukraine genocide

Urmas Reinsalu visits Hostomel Airport and Chernobyl.
Urmas Reinsalu visits Hostomel Airport and Chernobyl. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Russia must bear legal responsibility for the aggression in Ukraine at the highest political and military levels, including that of the president, Vladimir Putin, foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says.

Talking to ETV's Ukraine-focused current affairs show, "Ukraina stuudios", Reinsalu said that at a recent trip to that country(pictured), when he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy , Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and his counterpart as foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, an agreement was struck to help Ukraine reach an international agreement whereby the political and military leadership Russia would bear not only military, but also legal, responsibility for the course of the ongoing conflict.

He said: "This would mean a major cooperation at state level and at the elve of public opinion and lawyers and decision-makers, which requires reaching international agreements. Certain draft agreements have been prepared in Ukraine. /.../ Which we will support."

Whether this could include taking into custody the highest echelons of leadership, for instance Putin himself, was also a question for consideration, the foreign minister added.

"It is clear that a head of state's diplomatic immunity does not apply to perpetrators of genocide. Humanity needs a new Nuremberg," he went on, referring to the trials of surviving, leading Nazis, held by the allies at the end of World War Two, in the city of the same name.

Making it clear to countries that want to return to normal relations with Russia and Putin as soon as possible that this is not a normal situation, whereby relations can be quickly normalized, was also needed, Reinsalu said.

"We are dealing with genocide, and communication at a high level with politicians who carry out genocide, in a regular way, cannot be a new norm. For this reason the concept of legal responsibility is needed, which must frame our relations, or lack thereof, with Russia," he continued..

Working hard to convince other states of this need is nothing short of a matter of life and death, for Estonia's security, he added.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: "Ukraina stuudios", interviewer: Urmas Vaino.

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