Estonian PM: Bolder decisions needed for stopping Russia's aggression

  • 2022-04-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - At a meeting on Wednesday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and her Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Store discussed relations between Estonia and Norway, Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the changed security situation in Europe as well as energy security and cooperation.

Kallas said that brutal war crimes have been committed by Russian forces against Ukrainian civilians in Bucha and Irpin.

"These crimes do not expire. The evidence needs to be collected and documented for trials. The criminals will be brought to justice. This includes Russian soldiers who are following orders and committing these atrocities," Kallas said. "Sadly, Russia's war against Ukraine and its people continues. Attempts by the Russian authorities and state media to dehumanize Ukrainians are likewise intensifying."

The premier added that even bolder decisions are needed to stop Russia's aggression.

"Our priority is to provide supplementary weapons and equipment to Ukraine. Ukraine needs weapons aid to take back its cities and liberate its people from the Russian occupation and repressions," Kallas said.

The prime minister noted that the price of the aggression must further be increased in order to isolate Russia completely and stop its war machine.

"Until Ukraine has won this war, the sanctions have been insufficient," she said, adding that while new EU sanctions are about to be introduced, including those proposed by Estonia, progress must quickly be made with severe energy sanctions.

"We know that the lion's share of funding for the Russian war machine comes from the sale of oil and gas and this is the area we need to paralyze with sanctions," she noted.

Kallas and Store also discussed the need for NATO to adapt to the changed security situation and strengthen its defense and deterrence posture on its eastern flank in the long term. The Estonian prime minister thanked Norway for its contribution to ensuring security in the Baltic region.

"Norwegian troops are currently in Lithuania and we'd be happy to see Norwegian aircraft ensure the security of the Baltic airspace from Amari Air Base," Kallas said.

The prime ministers of Estonia and Norway also discussed opportunities for strengthening energy cooperation between the two countries.

"We want a cleaner and better protected environment and using green energy and abandoning fossil fuels is of key importance in this regard," Kallas said. The prime minister added that Estonia has much to learn from Norway in terms of implementing the green transition and producing green energy.

"In this connection, I am pleased that Prime Minister Store and I have decided to form a working group to map out two areas -- what we're already doing and what else we can still do. It will provide us with the ideas and vision on how to take cooperation in the green transition and green energy to the next level," she said. 

Kallas also met on Wednesday with President of the Norwegian parliament Masud Gharahkhani, chair of the parliament's foreign and defense committee Ine Eriksen Soreide and members of the committee in Oslo. She also participated in a round table at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies.

Kallas is being accompanied on her visit to Norway by an Estonian business delegation. The prime minister will open a seminar on Estonian-Norwegian energy cooperation on Wednesday, visit the Norwegian companies Aker and Equinor, and get acquainted with the work of the Fortum Oslo Varme waste treatment plant.