Politicians criticize Mart Helme for 'pro-peace in Ukraine' comments
Representatives of all other Riigikogu parties have criticized or condemned remarks by deputy chair of the opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Mart Helme according to which the party sides with neither Russia nor Ukraine but is on the side of peace.
Helme said on the Russian version of the "Otse uudistemajast" webcast on Wednesday that support for EKRE could be influenced by its neutral position regarding the war in Ukraine.
"We find that the best solution would be a peace treaty, no matter how hard it would be for both sides – at least people would no longer have to die. We are not on Russia's side and we are not on Ukraine's side, we are on the side of peace," Helme said.
Opposition Center Party MP Enn Eesmaa said that Helme's remarks on Russia's aggression in Ukraine came as a big surprise. "Because we are dealing with a top politician, it is baffling how someone with far more information than ordinary citizens could suggest they do not wish to support either side to the conflict today. This position is not just incomprehensible, it is downright inappropriate. More so as Mart Helme joined 87 colleagues from different parliamentary groups in a statement sharply condemning Russia's aggression on October 18."
"I hope that Mart Helme's apparently changed opinion is not the position of the entire EKRE in what is the greatest tragedy of our time," Eesmaa added.
Reform Party representative Kristen Michal published an opinion piece in the Delfi news portal, suggesting that in a situation where Russia is on a mission to kill women and children in Ukraine, Mart Helme's statement sends the signal that he doesn't care.
"The reason for bringing it up is equally cynical. EKRE have been poaching Center Party voters every since the two shared a coalition. First, Estonian speaking ones, while it is now the turn of Russian-speakers. Hence these remarks in Russian of being pro-peace instead of supporting the victory and freedom of the Ukrainian people," Michal said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said that EKRE's neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine war constitutes mortally dangerous rhetoric for both Estonia and Ukraine.
"I'm making efforts to convince countries half the world away that such attitudes are immoral. To hear such words in Estonia is all the more incomprehensible. "It is mortally dangerous rhetoric for both Estonia and Ukraine."
Social Democratic Party MEP Sven Mikser posted an image of Mart Helme on social media and captioned it: "Question of the day: What do they have on him?"
Member of the non-parliamentary Eesti 200, security expert Kalev Stoicescu remarked that EKRE have gone too far in their hunger for votes, trying whichever rhetoric to gain Russian speaking voters. "All other parties are baffled. What to do? What can I say? Let us try to keep EKRE as far away from power as possible. Those willing to form a government with EKRE would be little more than traitors at this point. The lines were crossed before, while this goes beyond," he offered.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski