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Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Marko Mihkelson and members of the Committee Barbi Pilvre and Henn Põlluaas are in Ukraine until Thursday to visit the control line in East Ukraine and meet with their colleagues in the Ukrainian Parliament.

According to Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson, the visit will among other things focus on the coming presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine. “The pre-election period has started, and now it is important to follow the developments in the Eastern Partnership country that is of great importance to us,” Mihkelson said. “It is essential to keep the internal political situation in Ukraine and the armed conflict in East Ukraine under international attention.”

Ukraine will elect the president in March next year. Parliamentary elections will be held in October.

Mihkelson expressed gladness that regarding the extending of sanctions against Russia, Europe was of one mind and held the position that until the Minsk Agreements were fully implemented, the sanctions could not be mitigated.

In the opinion of member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Barbi Pilvre, it is of key importance for the future of Ukraine that reforms would continue after the elections. “Estonia has supported Ukraine by helping to implement the reforms, to make the state structures more democratic, and to develop e-government and direct democracy,” Pilvre emphasised. “We have contributed to education reforms and supported business environment.”

Pilvre said that the direct humanitarian aid of earlier years had become development cooperation in recent years. In total, Estonia contributes nearly 2.7 million euro to Ukraine as development aid.

The visit of the Committee will start in Sviatohirsk in East Ukraine. Today they will examine the situation on the control line at Maiorsk, after which they plan to proceed to Kramatorsk.  

Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Henn Põlluaas said that the events in East Ukraine continued to cause concern, because even in the case of conflict of low intensity, the Ukrainian troops sustained losses practically every day. On the average, around ten Ukrainian soldiers are killed or wounded every week, by today, nearly 3400 members of the armed forces of Ukraine had been killed and nearly 11,000 wounded.

“There is no justification for Russia’s aggressions, occupying of the territories of other states and violation of international law, and we must not put up with it,” Põlluaas emphasised.

On Tuesday, the visit will continue in Zaporizhia, and on Wednesday and Thursday, there will be meetings in Kiev.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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