Russia must not be given any say regarding NATO - Estonian PM

  • 2021-12-09
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - At the government's press conference on Thursday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, commenting on the conversation between the presidents of the United States and Russia, said that under no circumstances can Russia be given any say in which states can be part of NATO and which cannot.

"Russia must also not be given any say in how NATO organizes the defense of its territory," Kallas underscored.

The prime minister added that the security issues of Europe, including those of Estonia, must be discussed with all the allies.

"I will also discuss this matter with President Alar Karis to reiterate the government's positions; we're also planning to communicate with other prime ministers in the region," she said.

Kallas said that it is universally known that Russia's plan is to use military force and threats to make Ukraine change its decisions and to force NATO to choose certain paths.

"What is most alarming is Russia's desire to turn Europe into spheres of influence. It is unacceptable and morally indefensible and Russia must be made aware of that in clear terms," the Estonian prime minister said.

The Kremlin Tuesday described Vladimir Putin's talks with US leader Joe Biden as "frank" and said the Russian president requested Washington provide guarantees NATO will not continue its eastward expansion. "Russia is seriously interested in obtaining reliable legal guarantees that will exclude NATO's eastward expansion and the deployment of offensive strike weapons in countries adjacent to Russia," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Biden gave no commitments to Putin on Tuesday over any demand for Ukraine to be blocked from joining NATO or for a reduced US military presence in the region, US officials said. "I'm not going to... go into details in terms of what they discussed," US national security advisor Jake Sullivan said following Biden's virtual summit with Putin. "But I will tell you clearly and directly he made no such commitments or concessions."

Biden will call NATO's Eastern European members on Thursday to discuss his video summit with Putin and fears of war in Ukraine, the White House said.

Biden "will convene a call with the leaders of the Bucharest Nine group of our eastern flank NATO Allies to brief them on his call with President Putin, hear their perspectives on the current security situation, and underscore the United States' commitment to transatlantic security," a statement said Wednesday.

The Bucharest group comprises Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Biden said Wednesday he has warned Putin that Moscow will face economic sanctions "like none he's ever seen" should Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border launch an attack. The dramatic warning came a day after Biden and Putin talked for two hours by video link, and the US leader said his Russian counterpart got "the message."