TALLINN – In his remarks at a meeting of the Council of Foreign Affairs of the European Union in Brussels on Monday, where several topics related to assistance to Ukraine and its EU candidate status were discussed, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that Europe must contribute more to Ukraine's victory.
The minister said it was crucial to help Ukraine prepare for the upcoming winter and protect the energy infrastructure that Russia is now systematically trying to destroy, spokespeople for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn said. Reinsalu added that it is especially important to send anti-aircraft weapons and munitions, as well as long-range missiles to Ukraine.
"My message at today's meeting was that Europe as a whole needs to change its way of thinking. Our approach to what is happening in Ukraine does not have to be reactive, and we need to do more now to contribute to Ukraine's victory. We need to formulate very clearly within the European Union what Ukraine's path towards accession to the European Union will be like in the near future," Reinsalu said.
"I also proposed that EU countries should contribute at least one percent of their gross domestic product to supporting Ukraine. Ukraine's GDP is only one percent of that of the European Union, but Ukraine bears the main burden of repelling the aggression, fighting for European values and security," he noted.
Reinsalu once again emphasized the need to tighten the sanctions imposed on Russia and to hold Russia accountable for crimes of aggression and war crimes committed in Ukraine.
"At today's meeting, I called for the preparation of a ninth package of sanctions for Russia at a faster pace, with the sanctioning of energy carriers at its core. Today, we are faced with a serious moral hazard, where EU member states have bought gas and oil from Russia for nearly twice as much money as we have given to Ukraine in aid. Importantly, I also stressed that, at this stage of Russia's aggression, we must focus on significantly increasing the cost of war and holding the Russian leadership to account in an international tribunal," Reinsalu said.
He added that countries must unconditionally refrain from forcing Ukraine into a fake peace and that the starting point of any peace negotiations must first be the territorial liberation of Ukraine and the aggressor's responsibility and compensation for damages.
In the light of Russia's war of aggression, the foreign ministers also raised as an important issue Iran's activities in supplying Russia with military drones and the possible provision of ballistic missiles to Russia. According to Reinsalu, if it is proven that Iran is supplying Russia with missiles, an additional comprehensive sanctions regime should be imposed against Iran.
The EU foreign ministers also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans. Reinsalu emphasized the need to increase the EU's presence and visibility in the Western Balkans in order to fend off Russia's influencing activities.
"Contributing to the stability of the Western Balkan region is a strategic investment for the security of the entire European Union," said Reinsalu.
Furthermore, the EU foreign ministers addressed the situation of the countries belonging to the African Great Lakes region and the need to update the European Union's strategy towards Africa.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Reinsalu also participated in the meeting of EU foreign ministers with the leader of the Belarusian democratic opposition Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, where he called on countries to develop new sanctions against the Lukashenko regime. In addition, Reinsalu had a meeting with the new foreign minister of Italy, Antonio Tajani, where the countries' bilateral relations and security cooperation were discussed.