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Kallas on Russia's wanted list: This is a familiar scare tactic

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Kaja Kallas.
Kaja Kallas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) on Tuesday said that Russia's move to add her to the country's wanted list is a classic intimidation tactic and not surprising.

"Today's move by the Russian Federation is nothing surprising; it's a familiar scare tactic. Estonia and I remain steadfast in our policy: supporting Ukraine, bolstering European defense, and fighting against Russian propaganda," she said in a statement.

Writing on social media, she said: "This is yet more proof that I am doing the right thing – the EU's strong support to Ukraine is a success and it hurts Russia.

"I've always said Russia's toolbox hasn't changed. Throughout history, Russia has veiled its repressions behind so-called law enforcement agencies. I know this from my family history. When my grandmother and mother were deported to Siberia, the KGB issued the arrest warrant.

"The Kremlin now hopes this move will help to silence me and others – but it won't. The opposite. I will continue my strong support to Ukraine. I will continue to stand for increasing Europe's defense"

On Tuesday, it was revealed by the Russian outlet Mediazona that Kallas had been included on Russia's wanted list along with State Secretary Taimar Peterkop.

It is not known why Kallas and Peterkop were added to the list but it is thought it may be connected to removing the remaining Soviet monuments from Estonia's public spaces after the start of the full-scale invasion.

The database contains Kallas' picture and dates of birth, but no explanation is included, Mediazona wrote.

The database contains hundreds of politicians and officials from Western countries, but Kallas is the only politician with such a high position on the list, i.e. the head of government.

Taimar Peterkop. Source: Jürgen Randma / riigikantselei

Mihkelson: Russia also threatens Baltic states' diplomats

Marko Mihkelson (Reform), chairman of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee, said Russia's current behavior must be put into perspective.

"I have previously described examples of Russian interference in Western countries' internal politics, as well as the reasons why they do it. And, of course, it is not news that relations with most, if not all, Western countries are currently very strained with Russia. It is therefore not surprising that Russia is taking such steps. Last week, diplomats from the three Baltic states were summoned to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where very harsh threats were made in our direction," Mihkelson said.

The MP said we should react calmly as this is a well-planned move aimed at undermining Estonia's security.

There are 83 people from Latvia in the database, including former Minister of the Interior Marija Golubeva, 67 members of the previous composition of the Latvian parliament, and 15 members of the Riga City Council. All of them have expressed their support for the removal of the red monuments.

Mediazona's graphic. Source: https://zona.media/

Additionally, there are 29 names from Lithuania, among them the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys and six members of the Vilnius City Council.

There are also four politicians and officials from Poland.

At Tuesday's press briefing, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov was asked why high-ranking politicians and state officials from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are included in the database. He replied these people are responsible for decisions related to hostile actions against historical memory and Russia.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also confirmed the connection is due to the removal of Soviet monuments.

Mediazona said there were 96,752 names listed in the database.

This article was updated to add comments from Marko Mihkelson.

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Editor: Urmet Kook, Helen Wright

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