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American ambassador to ERR: Sanctions against Russia have been effective

In his interview with ERR's "Välisilm" news magazine, U.S. Ambassador to Estonia James D. Melville commented on the meeting of the Baltic presidents with President Donald Trump last week, sanctions against Russia, the recent chemical attack in Syria, and his work under the Trump administration.

Talking about President Trump's meeting with Presidents Kaljulaid, Vējonis, and Grybauskaitė, Melville said that security is always a very important part of the conversation among allies. Though the meeting covered plenty of other topics as well.

Melville said that a particularly important message of the American president to his Baltic counterparts was and is that the United States honors and celebrate the independence of the three Baltic states.

The challenge facing all of the allied nations in NATO, namely to deter Russia from its present-day course of revanchism, and how to get it to observe international rules and agreements again, that was also part of the presidents' conversation, the ambassador said.

Commenting on sanctions against Russia, Melville said that they had been effective, but that there could have been more. The ambassador described the isolation of Russia resulting from the sanctions as a peaceful way to encourage the country to reconsider its current course.

Asked about the recent chemical attack in Syria, Melville said that any civilized country, the United States and Estonia among them, have no choice but to condemn such acts, and that after the ongoing investigation serious steps needed to be taken against those who perpetrated it.

Talking about the recent diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West triggered by a nerve agent attack on a former Russian intelligence agent in Salisbury in the United Kingdom and calls in the Baltic states and Poland to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project as a means to influence Russia in the matter, Melville said that it is a fact that Russia has used energy policy as a means to attain its political objectives.

Those who claim that Nord Stream 2 is exclusively a business matter are wrong, the ambassador pointed out. A look at history confirms that Russia has always used its energy exports directly to achieve political objectives. Nord Stream 2 is not in the best interest of the West and the European Union, Melville said.

Watch the whole interview in the player above the article.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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