Estonia's envoy to EU: Russia must be held accountable for war crimes

  • 2022-07-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The permanent representative of Estonia to the European Union, Aivo Orav, attended the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday, where he stressed that support for Ukraine must continue and that Russia must be held accountable for war crimes and gross human rights violations.

"Russia's brutal war in Ukraine has been going on for almost half a year, and unfortunately we can see that Russia is preparing for a long-term aggression," Orav said according to spokespeople for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn.

"It is our duty to stand firmly behind Ukraine and continue with all possible support for as long as necessary, especially to increase Ukraine's defense capability. For this purpose, EU foreign ministers provided political support for the next disbursement from the European Peace Facility in the amount of 500 million euros," the ambassador said.

He added that, at the same time, the reconstruction of Ukraine must be started as soon as possible.

"It needs global support and responsibility, because Ukraine, in addition to the freedom of its country and people, is also fighting for values ‚Äč‚Äčthat we, too, consider important. Along with the reconstruction, Ukraine must also be supported in the preparations related to EU candidate status," Orav said.

According to the ambassador, it must also be ensured that Russia does not develop a feeling of impunity in the war.

"Russia must be held accountable for war crimes and gross human rights violations, which bear clear signs of genocide. Therefore, we also support the formation of a UN special court on crimes of aggression committed in Ukraine," he said.

Monday's Foreign Affairs Council also discussed the next package of sanctions to complement and tighten measures against Russia. Among the new measures are plans to ban the import of gold from Russia and put additional persons and entities under restrictions.

The meeting of EU foreign ministers also dealt with digital diplomacy.

"A year ago, together with Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, under the leadership of Denmark, we started to develop an EU digital diplomacy to strengthen the union's, and thus Estonia's, global position in the digital field. For us, it is important to ensure coherence with all EU policies, as technological development affects security, the economy, the functioning of democracy and the rule of law, as well as social and education policies," said Orav.

Relations with countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the organization of the EU-Israel Association Council were also on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council.