Minister: Estonia ready to take all steps needed for Ukraine EU accession
Estonia is prepared to take all the steps needed to start Ukraine's European Union accession talks, Estonia's foreign minister, Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200), says.
The cost of the current war must be raised for Russia until Ukraine emerges victorious, which means continue supporting Ukraine for as long as is needed, Tsahkna added Friday.
Speaking at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Stockholm, Sweden, Friday (pictured), Tsahkna said: "Ukraine's integration into the EU forms the basis for peace and stability in Europe, which is why we support launching negotiations as early as in the second half of 2023, on the condition that all necessary conditions have been met."
The minister also stressed the importance of continued political and practical assistance to Ukraine in its EU accession process, and also progress on the next, 11th, EU sanctions package on Russia and Belarus.
"This time around, we are concentrating on preventing sanctions evasion," Tsahkna added, via a foreign ministry press release.
More immediately, Ukraine right now needs urgent military assistance, especially ammunition, to defend not only itself, but also the sovereignty of all of Europe, Tsahkna went on.
"This is why I hope that EU member states will move forward with developing their defense industries," he added.
"The million rounds of ammunition that were promised must be delivered to Ukraine as soon as possible. Estonia has done its share, and I call on other member states to do the same."
With respect to trying the Russian leadership as war criminals in respect of the aggression in Ukraine, Tsahkna said: "The EU should take a leading role in the process of establishing a special tribunal."
"If Putin and his accomplices are not brought to justice, this sets a precedent for repeating that aggression," the foreign minister added.
The EU ministers also discussed the bloc's relations with China and also ways to reduce economic dependency on that country, while Minister Tsahkna met EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, on the sidelines of the main meeting.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte