TALLINN - Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu was in Kyiv on Wednesday to meet with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, and discuss the brutal war of the Kremlin regime in Ukraine and express unwavering support for Ukraine.
In his meetings with Zelensky and Shmyhal, Reinsalu underlined that despite Russia's continued inhumane war in Ukraine, we must begin reconstruction in the country, spokespeople for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn said.
"We must stop making promises and get to work," Reinsalu said at the meeting with the prime minister of Ukraine. "Winter is coming and many people have no shelter due to the destruction caused by Russia. The time to get to work is now."
Reinsalu added that the price of the aggression must be made as severe as possible for Russia. We will continue making proposals for more severe and efficient sanctions. We must also jointly prevent Russia from evading sanctions, he said.
In order to reinforce sanctions, the European Union adopted the seven sanctions package in late July, which included an import ban on gold, the second main export of Russia after energy carriers.
"The seventh sanctions package is not enough. We must continue working on additional sanctions on Russia's energy carriers," Reinsalu said. He added that Russia needs to pay for its damage in Ukraine and Russia's frozen assets should be used for this purpose.
"With its brutal war in Ukraine, Russia has violated all principles of international law and is subject to paying reparations," he noted. "We have a moral duty to hold war criminals and aggressors accountable. The credibility of the rules-based order depends on it"
At the meetings, Reinsalu welcomed the historic June decision of the European Union to give Ukraine candidate country status.
"My aim at the meetings was to find out what kind of specific assistance in which area Ukraine needs on its path to the EU," he said, adding Estonia also supports Ukraine's accession to NATO.
The state and people of Estonia have provided Ukraine with humanitarian aid worth nearly 20 million euros in total, and defense assistance worth almost 245 million euros -- a third of Estonia's annual defense budget. More than 48,000 Ukrainians, equaling nearly 3.7 percent of Estonia's population, have fled to Estonia to escape Russia’s brutality.
"Today I saw Ukraine's strength. Ukraine is not tired," Reinsalu said. "We must also not get tired. Russia must lose this war."
Zelensky thanked Estonia for the assistance and continued support it has given to Ukraine.