Estonian PM: Russia's behavior towards Ukraine cannot be accepted

  • 2021-12-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - At a meeting with her Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts in Vilnius on Wednesday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that Russia's behavior vis-a-vis Ukraine cannot be accepted. 

"Anxious times are pushing us even more to work together -- we discussed how to rein in the Lukashenko regime, but also what our response and that of our allies is to the growing threats and offensive messages from Russia. In addition to the increase in hostile messages, we are also seeing more active military action by Russia towards Ukraine," Kallas said. 

The premier said it is unacceptable that an authoritarian state is trying to force Ukraine to change its decisions through military means and threats.

"We see a desire to divide Europe into spheres of influence by force or by threatening it. This is an unacceptable and morally unsound policy. And this must be made clear to Russia," Kallas said. 

She said that both the European Union and NATO are following the events closely.

"We are ready to respond to aggression against our partner countries -- Russia's action in Ukraine will not go unanswered by us or our allies. Just as we have been able to maintain a firm  line in the European Union in imposing sanctions on Belarus, we are ready to react jointly and swiftly also if Russia continues escalating actions towards Ukraine," Kallas said. 

The Estonian prime minister said that on Wednesday she will also visit the Lithuanian-Belarusian border in the area of Medininkai. She said that Lithuania has done well countering the hybrid attack.

Kallas is about to learn about Lithuania's experience on the ground and also meet with Estonian police officers who have gained first-hand and valuable experience on the frontline of hybrid attack as part of the ESTPOL 5 team.

Kallas described modern connections as an important part of energy security and economic growth. The outgoing year has been very successful in the synchronization of the Baltic electricity networks with that of continental Europe. New connections have emerged between Estonia and Latvia as well as Lithuania and Poland.

The premier said Estonia hopes that the current round of Connecting Europe Facility will help us to complete this work effectively. Estonia also has excellent cooperation with Latvia on the establishment of a joint wind farm in the Baltic Sea, the development of which will continue at a fast pace.

Kallas said that, understandably, the biggest concern for everyone now is the high electricity prices. Rising energy prices are forcing us to act fast. Together, the Baltic countries must find ways to ensure more stable electricity prices. The best way to do this is to invest in new generating capacity and lower energy consumption.

According to Kallas, the Baltic states must make an effort with the rest of Europe to increase their security of supply and speed up the launch of new electricity capacities. Electricity price shocks should not become the new normal and it is understandable that people and businesses look to governments for a sense of security. Kallas believes it is important that the issue of energy prices will be discussed by the European Council in Brussels next week, and said that definitely she will raise the issue there. 

Kallas also said she is pleased that the establishment of Rail Baltic is progressing in all three countries. The countries are working together to show tangible results and get to the finish line as quickly as possible. Estonia considers it important to focus on rail connections between the Baltic states.