Estonian foreign minister: We need to support Ukraine and isolate Russia
On Tuesday, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) gave a speech at the Riigikogu, outlining Estonia's main foreign policy accomplishments over the past year, as well as its aims for the next twelve months. In his speech, Reinsalu focused on the need for Estonia to continue providing comprehensive assistance to Ukraine and to isolate Russia.
Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said, that Estonia has so far provided Ukraine with extensive military aid, ranging from Javelins to armored vehicles. "We have provided high caliber and modern weapons. Providing weapons is critical and Estonia has been very visible in this regard," said Reinsalu.
The minster added, that the amount of military aid Estonia has provided to Ukraine amounts to 1 percent of the country's Gross domestic product (GDP).
"As early as last November, I called on our NATO Allies to follow Estonia's example, and I will continue to do so. We must support Ukraine with heavy weaponry. This includes fighter aircraft," Reinsalu said.
He also called on like-minded countries to come to an agreement regarding frozen Russian assets. "Europe is currently looking for legal options to use frozen Russian assets to help, as well as rebuild, Ukraine. Estonia is creating its own financial instrument, which will allow us to use these assets for the benefit of Ukraine."
Reinsalu also emphasized, that Russia's political and military leadership which launched the war of aggression against Ukraine, must be brought to justice, including Vladimir Putin himself. "We are supporting Ukraine's efforts to establish a trans-regional international special tribunal. The first step will be opening a temporary prosecutor's office in The Hague, which would be responsible for collecting and preserving evidence of the crimes of aggression," he said.
Since the start of Russia's full-scale military invasion of Ukraine last February, Estonia and the European Union have continued to impose sanctions against Moscow. "The next sanctions package has to hurt Russia's economy further. We must also review the crude oil price cap in March to further reduce Russia's revenue," Reinsalu said.
The foreign minister added, that Estonia must work together with the European Union to restrict the entry of Russian citizens and prevent them from owning assets in the EU.
Reinsalu also said, that Ukraine should begin EU accession talks this year, adding, that Ukraine must also become a member of NATO.
The foreign minister also stressed that Finland and Sweden joining the Alliance will significantly strengthen the defense of NATO territory. "This step is crucial, not just for the defense of the Baltic Sea region, but for the security of the whole of Europe and the cohesion of NATO," he said.
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Editor: Michael Cole