TALLINN - Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, where he called for speeding up defense assistance to Ukraine, continuing to isolate Russia internationally and ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches civilians in Gaza.
At the meeting, Tsahkna welcomed the historic decision of the European Commission to recommend launching accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova.
"It was a clear message from the EU that we will continue to support Ukraine and respect their decision to become a part of the EU, despite the ongoing brutal aggression of Russia," Tsahkna said. "Winter is here soon. Last year, we witnessed how Russian missiles were indiscriminately targeting the critical infrastructure of civilians. Ukraine needs help from us all to continue its selfless fight for its security and the security of us all."
Tsahkna said that in addition to supporting Ukraine, we must continue raising the cost of the war for Russia, including making quick progress with additional sanctions on Russia, which should reduce Russia's ability to fund its cruel war in Ukraine. He said he hopes the additional, 12th package of sanctions will be approved in the immediate future.
"We cannot normalize relations with the aggressor, we must continue isolating Russia internationally, and we must not submit to provocations and blackmail," Tsahkna said, referring to Russia's decision to block Estonia’s chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
"I am glad that the EU unanimously supports Estonia," he added.
Discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Tsahkna said he is following developments in Israel and Gaza with a heavy heart.
"Civilians in Gaza must be ensured continued, quick, safe and stable humanitarian aid," he said, adding that he welcomes the EU's statement from Sunday regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza. At the same time, Tsahkna emphasized that Israel is fully entitled to defend itself within international law against attacks by the Hamas terrorist organization.
"I would also like to repeat that Hamas must immediately release all the hostages that have been held by them for more than a month," the foreign minister said.
The ministers also spoke about the situation in Armenia and in Azerbaijan and ways in which the EU could contribute to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The minister’s doorstep statement is available here: https://x.com/Tsahkna/status/1724031231761781012?s=20