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At its today’s sitting, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) decided to tighten Estonia’s positions regarding the events in Ukraine for the meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council on 6 February.

By the consensual decision of the Foreign Affairs Committee, a clause according to which Estonia in every way condemns the military escalation in East Ukraine was added to Estonia’s positions. Sanctions of the European Union against Russia have to remain in force until the Minsk Agreements are fully implemented. If the military escalation is continued, Estonia supports tightening of the sanctions.

“Estonia’s positions reflect our attitude towards the recent events in Ukraine,” Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson said. “The existence of the sanctions against Russia is directly connected with fulfilling the Minsk Agreements. Unfortunately we are seeing a rapid worsening of the situation. In recent days, the military escalation initiated by the Kremlin-minded forces has resulted in dozens of victims and hundreds of wounded. Therefore it is especially important that the EU expressed strong support to Ukraine.”

In the opinion of the Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, the unambiguous and clear support of Estonia and the whole European Union to the territorial integrity of Ukraine and ending of military activities is necessary. “If the military escalation in Ukraine continues and the Minsk Agreements are simply brutally violated, the appropriate response to that is reviewing and tightening of sanctions,” Pentus-Rosimannus said.

Besides the Chairman and the Deputy Chair, the decision of the Foreign Affairs Committee was also supported by Maire Aunaste, Liisa Oviir, Vladimir Velman, Andres Herkel, Henn Põlluaas and Eerik-Niiles Kross. The European Union Affairs Committee took notice of this information at their joint sitting with the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Estonia is of the opinion that in spite of the complicated situation in Ukraine, Russia’s continuing aggression and unlawful annexation of Crimea, Ukraine has made considerable progress in reforming the country. Estonia thinks that the people and the government of Ukraine have proven their clear will to integrate with the EU, and therefore Estonia supports the implementation of the resolution on visa freedom between the EU and Ukraine as soon as possible and looks forward to the final ratification and entry into force of the association agreement.

Estonia welcomes the readiness and progress of Ukraine in reforming the country, and continues to support Ukraine bilaterally and through various organisations. We also encourage Ukraine to take rapid and decisive steps to reduce corruption, including measures to strengthen the institutions created for fighting against corruption and strengthening the judicial system. The competent and active civil society of Ukraine has had an important role in promoting the reforms. Estonia urges the government of Ukraine to continue close cooperation with the civil society.

Estonia supports strengthening the EU’s policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea by Russia nearly three years ago.

Photos of the joint sitting.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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