FT: Kallas pleads with local companies to stop trade with Russia

Kaja Kallas.
Kaja Kallas. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told UK newspaper the Financial Times that she had to "plead" with companies to find a "moral compass" and decline deals that may result in Moscow accessing sanctioned goods.

The paper's recent investigation into Russian sanctions evasion identified $1 billion of goods having disproportionately passed through the Baltic states, believed to be part of Moscow's "ghost trade". Local companies have also been involved.

"Kallas accused local companies of hypocrisy, telling them: "You are very vocal about . . . Ukraine and Russia and security . . . but in a hidden way . . . you are agreeing [with Moscow]"." the paper wrote.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have seen a rise in exports to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia transiting through Russia.

"But many of those goods failed to arrive at the destination, raising the suspicion that it was a scheme used to circumvent the western sanctions regime," the paper wrote.

The investigation found Estonian exports to the three countries have risen from $3 million a month before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 to $13 million in October.

That month, the last for which full data is available, those receiving countries still reported matching imports of just $3 million.

Baltic leaders have spoken to the presidents of Armenia and Georgia, Kallas said but they have not seen an increase in goods arriving: " It doesn't reach them. So that's the worry."

The transit of so-called dual-use products, civilian goods with potential military application, to Russia was banned by the EU in February.

Now the Baltics want stronger rules put in place and there are growing concerns about sanctions invasions. Kallas said it would be easiest if the "transit of certain goods" to Russia is banned altogether.

Russia was sanctioned after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.


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Editor: Helen Wright

Source: Financial Times

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