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Estonian MEP: Putin has a habit of ruining Christmas

Riho Terras MEP.
Riho Terras MEP. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The West needs to give Ukraine significantly more help as the country's forces are running low, said the former head of the Estonian Defense Forces and sitting Member of the European Parliament Riho Terras (Isamaa).

"Ukraine's forces are running low. And they are also running out of equipment and weapons. And Russia doesn't have that much either, but they can now rally for this particular Christmas offensive. You can see it happening. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin often has a habit of ruining Christmas," Terras told ERR.

The MEP said Russia has significantly increased its military pressure on Ukraine and two very important weeks lie ahead.

"You can see that they are advancing in different places. So, this is very critical," he said.

"I believe that political circles understand that Ukraine needs to be supported militarily. If the front were to fall apart and the Russians were to take something big back, it would send a bad message to the whole world. That, actually, the strongest military alliance in the world, together with like-minded countries around the world, cannot stand up to autocratic states. I do not think it will go that far, but of course, the threat is there, and that is why we have to fully commit," said Terras. 

The politician said the European Parliament also has a role to play in this situation.

"I think it depends on the Parliament whether this is a topical issue and whether it is kept up all the time. The Parliament in general has been very pro-Ukrainian, more so than the member states. But still, I think it is up to the Parliament to make sure that the issue does not fall off the agenda and that MEPs keep the issue active in the Commission," said Terras.

Last week, the Ukrainian army proposed to conscript up to 500,000 more civilians. The plan has not yet been given government approval.

But Estonia will send Ukrainian refugees back if an agreement is stuck with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government, Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) said on Friday. 

At the start of December, Putin signed a decree increasing Russian troop numbers by 15 percent, approximately 170,000 men.

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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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