Estonian minister against granting asylum to men fleeing mobilization in Russia

  • 2022-09-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Just like Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, Minister of the Interior Lauri Laanemets does not consider it possible to offer asylum in Estonia to Russian citizens who have received a mobilization call, as this would be fundamentally contrary to the purpose of all the sanctions imposed to date, Postimees reported on Wednesday.

"From a human perspective, of course, the problem is completely understandable. However, we should not offer protection to deserters, because that would be fundamentally contradictory to the aim of all our sanctions so far, which is the collective responsibility of Russian citizens in the war in Ukraine," Laanemets said.

"Putin's latest move in some ways reinforces the sanctions we have imposed to date, because it will hopefully increase discontent among the population. It is no longer just professional soldiers, people from remote regions or convicts who are being sent to the front, but the desire is for everyone to be relegated to cannon fodder," he said. 

The minister said he believes that the decision can have a direct setback for the Putin regime, which is already demonstrated by the fact that within hours of the announcement of the mobilization, almost all flights from Russia were sold out.

"Putin's move today also shows that the Baltic countries and Poland did the right thing by blocking their borders for Russian citizens with Schengen tourist visas, because otherwise pressure at our border crossing points would be very real today," Laanemets added.