Estonia wants to end Russian energy trade, commerce and finance dialed back

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu and his Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba in front of the UN building in New York.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu and his Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba in front of the UN building in New York. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Flickr

Estonia has several pages of proposals for additional Russia sanctions, while the next package should definitely include an end to energy trade, removing the entire Russian financial sector from the SWIFT system and dialing back goods transport to and from Russia, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu said.

"Estonia is open to more items, while it should include a full European embargo on energy and a considerable reduction in maritime and land-based trade," Reinsalu told ERR on Thursday. "We should definitely sanction the entire Russian financial sector from the SWIFT system, and there are further companies and individuals to whom sanctions should apply," the foreign minister added.

Talking about trade restrictions, Reinsalu pointed out that if right now, limitations are in place for ships or trucks registered in Russia, Estonia believes sanctions should apply to goods to and from Russia. "That is the idea of the economic embargo we have been fighting for," he emphasized.

"Our proposals package spans many pages. I would point out for symbolic value the fact that Estonia has proposed designating Luhansk and Donetsk authorities terrorist organizations in light of the false referendums to be held there," Reinsalu added.

He recalled that an Estonian court was the first to declare the separatist so-called Luhansk People's Republic a terrorist organization when it handed a Luhansk separatist fighter over to Ukraine in 2016.

EU foreign ministers pledge new sanctions

EU foreign ministers held an extraordinary meeting as part of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday to discuss steps the EU will take to counter Russia's escalation of the Ukraine war following news of a partial mobilization, promise to hold referendums in occupied territories and thinly veiled nuclear threats.

The Member States' joint statement promised to hold those responsible accountable and impose new sanctions on Russia as soon as possible.

"Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in organizing these 'referenda' as well as in other violations of international law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine will be held accountable, and additional restrictive measures against Russia will be brought forward as soon as possible in coordination with our partners," the statement said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also attended the meeting.

Reinsalu said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's Wednesday statement has created entirely new context. "Estonia made its proposals in mid-August and I emphasized (at the informal EU foreign ministerial – ed.) in Prague that we need to implement them before Putin goes down the path of escalation, make the first move," the Estonian foreign minister remarked.

"Following the meeting yesterday, everyone voiced preparedness to implement the next package without delay and working with allies, mainly the U.S. and UK," Reinsalu added.

The Estonian foreign minister told his colleagues that the EU must increase military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine to help them win the war, and that pressure on Russia must be retained on all fronts.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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