Support for Ukraine must be maintained and enhanced as autumn and winter approaches, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says, while Russia must be held legally accountable for the war crimes it has committed there since February's invasion.
Speaking in New York on Monday, where the foreign minister met with UN Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo during the UN General Assembly's 77th session opening week, Reinsalu said: "In a war that has been raging on for more than six months now, we have seen deliberate attacks and brutal violence against civilians in Ukraine, with no mercy shown even to children, as well as looting, arrests and deportations."
Now that colder weather was on the horizon, the aid being sent to Ukraine both militarily and from the humanitarian perspective should be continued, and indeed stepped up, the foreign minister said.
"As the harsh autumn and winter days are drawing closer, we must concentrate on the humanitarian crisis in addition to military aid, to ensure that people suffering in the horrors of war have necessary shelter, food, water and medicines.
"We must also make sure that humanitarian aid reaches areas outside Ukrainian control," the foreign minister noted, according to a foreign ministry press release.
At #UNGA77 Estonia´s absolute priority is #Ukraine.— Urmas Reinsalu (@UrmasReinsalu) September 19, 2022
At my meeting with @UN USG @DicarloRosemary I emphasised the need to ensure accountability for Russia´s crimes of aggression. We must also boost our humanitarian aid as winter is closing in & there are people in dire need. pic.twitter.com/k7mAXUHqxL
Reinsalu and DiCarlo were also agreement that it was also crucial to get immediate access to prisoners of war in the conflict, and in ensuring Russia is held legally responsible for the crimes it has committed in the war.
Reinsalu presented formally a Riigikogu statement on Russia's war crimes and genocide in Ukraine to DiCarlo, stressing that Russia's actions demonstrated a clear intent to commit genocide against the Ukrainian people, and adding that the international community needed to take steps to make sure no crime goes unpunished.
For this reason, a special tribunal aimed at investigating the crimes of aggression organized by Russia's leadership was necessary, he added.
Reinsalu and DiCarlo also spoke about the situation in Belarus, a country whose democratic development Estonia remains consistently in support of, as evidenced by an event organized on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Monday which focused on the Belarusian crisis and its wider impact
Reinsalu and his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkēvičs also met with exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at the UN Monday.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs