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At the lively discussion of the issue of Ukraine in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu on Monday, the Chairman of the Committee Marko Mihkelson suggested a forward-looking idea of the Estonian cooperation model for helping Ukraine in the future.

“The state of Estonia has to develop a model for proceeding with helping Ukraine. We must review the activities that we can carry out with our small resources, with the money from businesses and the state,” Mihkelson said.

According to him, the Estonian development aid is proportionally unbalanced. For example, considering the size of development aid presently given to Afghanistan, it does not correspond to the aid given to Ukraine when the significance of the issue and its impact on Estonia are taken into account.

“At the same time I certainly agree, and it is true, that Ukraine can help itself only on its own. People understand that the imitating of the functioning of the state has been taken to the critical point. But we have to remember that our life here will not become any simpler if Ukraine cannot hold on under the pressure of Russia,” Mihkelson said.

Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Andrus Ansip said that the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had acted very well, and more criticism should be devoted to the question of how much the Ukrainians themselves want any changes. “We were ready to eat potato peelings in the name of our freedom and independence, and in the same way the Ukrainians have to want this change very much. So far the governments of Ukraine have avoided making painful reforms,” Ansip said critically.

Last year Ukraine failed to conclude the Association Agreement with the European Union, which caused the demonstrations of the people and was followed by the escalation of the situation. The requirements of the Association Agreement that were not fulfilled at that time were making amendments to the law on the elections of the parliament and the law on the prosecutor’s office, and also the issue of freeing the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The country is undergoing a constitutional reform that will regulate the balance between the president and the parliament.

Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Juhan Parts expressed the opinion that as long as Ukraine does not change its present economic model and its dependence on Russia, the economy of the country will not function and Ukraine will not attract foreign investments.

Ukraine is about to face an economic recession, and the parliamentary elections may also take place this year. “The elections may take place before winter, when the price of gas is high, the price of electricity has risen in the meantime, the economy of the country is in decline and there is essentially a war going on in East-Ukraine,” Mihkelson summarized the discussions at the sitting.

The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ambassador of Estonia in Kiev Sulev Kannike participated in the discussion via Skype. Jaanika Merilo, Head of the Association of Investors in Ukraine, also took part in the discussion on Ukraine at the sitting of the Committee.

Photos of the Committee meeting can be viewed at.