Estonian PM says annexation of Ukraine's regions biggest escalation of war since Feb 24

  • 2022-09-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Russia is stealing the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions from Ukraine and threatening the world with nuclear weapons, which is the most serious escalation since Feb. 24, when Russia started a full-scale war against Ukraine, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in a statement on Friday.

"We need to respond to this land grab with a principled stance, concrete decisions, and absolute unity -- EU leaders need to convene and adopt strong sanctions as soon as possible. Energy is the key here -- a price cap for Russian oil and gas are a must to reduce Russia's income and lower its ability to feed the war machine," the statement says.

"Let's look at the magnitude of Russia's illegal annexation. Russia will announce that around 20 percent of Ukraine's territory is annexed to Russia. It is the size of 108,800 square kilometers --this is comparable to Austria and Belgium combined. Or Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands combined. Or 30 percent of Germany. Or the size of the Republic of Korea. If you add Crimea to it, the territory is comparable to three Belgiums and the Netherlands combined. And around 40 percent of Germany," Kallas said.

"And let's call things with the right names. Russia tries to rewrite the map of Europe. It's a land grab. It's theft. Putin hopes to add legitimacy to his invasion with this step. The international community will never recognize it. Luhansk, Donetsk, Herson and Zaporizhzhia, and also Crimea, and Ukraine and will remain Ukraine," she said.

The Estonian premier said that nothing Russia does changes Ukraine's right to restore its territorial integrity or weakens our support to them.

Ukrainians have proved this war is winnable. They have shown us all that high morale and excellent leadership are as important as military power. Ukraine has used our military aid with skill and determination. We will have to increase our support to Ukraine -- both military and economic, as well as political and moral support. And we need to ensure that there will be no impunity," she said.

Kallas said that one of Putin's aims is to test and undermine our unity and resolve.

"We will meet this test. That is why we will continue our rapid and joint coordination in the wider transatlantic community," she said.