Kaljulaid wants to talk bilateral relations, Ukraine, Georgia with Putin

President Kersti Kaljulaid requested a meeting with Vladimir Putin later this month.
President Kersti Kaljulaid requested a meeting with Vladimir Putin later this month. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Speaking to ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera on Thursday, President Kersti Kaljulaid said that in meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, she wants to discuss the conflicts in Ukraine and Georgia as well as bilateral Estonian-Russian relations.

The Estonian president has attracted criticism in recent days over her plan to meet with Mr Putin during a visit to Moscow this month. The meeting itself has also been criticised as the topics to be discussed at this meeting at least initially were unclear, but also because it was requested in the first place.

Ms Kaljulaid explained to Aktuaalne kaamera that she intends to discuss both controversial topics involving Ukraine and Georgia as well as the development of bilateral relations.

"This meeting is the message, because look, Estonian diplomats, Estonian politics speak a lot about Russia in the world, and in reality it isn't very easy to understand why we don't speak with Russia at that," the president explained. "Also, knowing that we likely have fairly few points in common, then this meeting itself is important itself to have."

Without a doubt, just like its partners and allies, with whom she has broached the subject of the planned meeting, Estonia will always remain true to its values, the Estonian head of state continued.

"We will always talk about Ukraine, we will always talk about Georgia," Ms Kaljulaid promised. "We will try to understand what the way forward might be to ensure that the Minsk agreements are fulfilled. We will also discuss bilateral relations too, as Estonia and Russia nonetheless have bilateral relations — we must not lose sight of that. We have border cooperation, we have cultural cooperation, and the next EU budgetary period lies ahead, during which the Estonia.Russia Programme will hopefully continue. There are always things to talk about between neighbours."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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