MPs from the Centre Party, the majority coalition government party, abstained from a vote on a draft resolution on Wednesday, which proposed sanctions on the Russian Federation following the Kerch Strait incident.
The draft resolution was initiated by the opposition Free Party, and proposed an entry bar not only to Estonia but also the whole Schengen Zone, for those citizens of the Russian Federation who facilitated or even actively justified the action.
The Kerch Strait incident in November 2018 saw three Ukrainian Navy vessels fired upon as they passed through the Kerch Strait, which divides the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea. The Ukrainian port of Mariupol lies on the Sea of Azov; the western cost of the strait is part of the Crimean peninsular, which the Russian Federation annexed in 2014.
Three sailors were injured in the attack and 24 were detained by Russia.
"Following the occupation of Crimea and the establishment of separatist puppet regimes in eastern Ukraine, it is clear that each aggression has to be responded to in a concrete and effective manner, otherwise the aggression will be repeated and expanded," the draft's accompanying explanatory notes stated.
One Centre MP, Mihhail Stalnuhin, did vote in fact, but against the proposal; the other to vote against was a former Centre MP, Olga Ivanova. 56 MPs voted in favour of the resolution and 43 abstained, over half of whom would have been the remaining Centre MPs.
With only two more days of parliamentary sessions before the 3 March general election, the vote is one of the last significant actions to be carried out by the XIII Riigikogu.
Editor: Andrew Whyte