Kersti Kaljulaid: Sanctions on Russia require regular renewal

Kersti Kaljulaid on 'Välisilm.'
Kersti Kaljulaid on 'Välisilm.' Source: ERR

Sanctions on Russia need to be under constant review and renewal, former President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid says, since those imposed even a year ago, leave alone five years ago, can often prove toothless.

Speaking to ETV foreign affairs show "Välisilm," the former president said she agreed with criticism from Volodymr Zelenskyy over the apparent caution the collective West has exhibited in drawing up new sanctions – not least since Russia has proven itself often able to dodge the already in-place sanctions.

Kaljulaid said: "At the end of the day, the economy is an elegant piece of machinery, one which has the capability to adapt. Since economic agents are often concerned with profit lines and not ethics, it can be the case that if something gets banned, another avenue is found to restore it - when one specific commodity code is banned, then we modify things a little, obtain another code, and the matter continues; or we move things through other countries. We have seen it all. As sad as it is, humanity has a tendency to be like that."

"For this reason, sanctions have to be refined and renewed all the time; then a period of transition and adaptation follows, where economic cooperation is somewhat disrupted. I have no illusions over sanctions that are, for example, five years old, or even a year old, being effective, in any way," she continued.

While the West is of the opinion that it can set up a special international tribunal to try Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a war criminal, Ukraine expects more, Kaljulaid said, noting that she sensed a degree of complacency in the West over the past year or so about how much it has achieved and how much it has helped Ukraine.

"While in the background lies the despair of the Ukrainians, where too little is being done all the time.

Moreover, she said, it is in Ukraine's interests to extend the context of the war outside of Ukrainian territory – for instance by demonstrating that drone fragments did just end up in Romanian territory.

"It is in their interest to show that this is a fight between the free world and the non-free world. This last statement is certainly true, of course, and no one denies that," Kaljulaid went on.

The president had also recently been in Yalta, Ukraine, attending a European strategy meeting.

Among other things, the ex-president says she was asked about the recent controversy which engulfed Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in respect of her husband's business interests.

Kaljulaid noted that the main concern seemed to be how much weight Estonia's word will have going forward and in the wake of the scandal, given how pivotal a role Estonia and Kallas have played in keeping international attention on Russia's war on Ukraine.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael.

Source: 'Välisilm,' interviewer Tarmo Maiberg.

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