Estonia has condemned the Russian decision to recognize the separatist regions of Georgia as independent nations. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Russian president Dmitry Medvedev's decision to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia was unacceptable. "The Russian move is in deliberate violation of international law and of the principle of the stability of Europe," Paet said. He added that like all European Union and NATO members, Estonia proceeded from the principle of Georgia's territorial integrity. "This move clearly shows that Russia does not want to find a solution to the situation of conflict but wants to further aggravate it," Paet said. "The decision will in no way contribute to the stabilization of the situation and improvement of the outlooks of peace in Caucasia."
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel urged more focus on the investigation of the crimes of Communism. "I naturally maintain that we must deal with the study of the history of communism," Merkel, now on a visit to Estonia, said at a press conference after her meeting with Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. Merkel said that Prime Minister Ansip had showed her portraits of former Estonian leaders in the Stenbock House and the years of their death referred to Stalinist crimes. But Merkel refrained from equating communism with Nazism, saying that national socialism was a unique phenomenon and that it is still necessary to study what took place under communism and to give an assessment to it. "The thesis is widespread in Russia that disintegration of the Soviet Union was the biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. I do not share that view," Merkel said.
The commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Lt. Gen. Ants Laaneots, will award a special service cross to Pfc. Tonis Endrekson, who won a silver medal in rowing at the Beijing Olympic Games. Pfc. Endrekson, a member of the defense forces sports group, will receive the award for his successful performance at the Beijing Olympic Games, where he won a silver medal in rowing double sculls with Juri Jaanson. Endrekson will be decorated with the cross on Tuesday, the defense forces headquarters said. Endrekson passed the compulsory military service in the Parnu Independent Infantry Battalion. Seven members of the defense forces sports group took part in the Beijing Olympic Games.