Estonia’s Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets, on a visit to Bucharest, said that Russia must be further isolated in terms of politics and economy, mentioning that it is important that the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations be carried out without military pressure.
Liimets participated in a debate organised by think tank-ul New Strategy Center, at the National Military Centre in Bucharest, alongside Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu.
“The international community must continue to support Ukraine. For the Ukrainian side it is important that negotiations be carried out without military pressure. It is important that we see dialogue between the sides, but I think it is somehow naive to wait for long term results from these discussions. For the international community it is very important to continue supporting Ukraine economy-wise, as well as political-wise, in addition to military aids, so that the Ukrainian forces be able to defend their country until the peace negotiations reach a result. It is important that Russia felt that this is a strategic failure, as it is totally unacceptable to start a wide war in Europe killing thousands of civilians. We must continue to isolate Russia politically and economically, through sanctions”, the Estonian Foreign Minister said.
Liimets highlighted that the security situation in the region had changed after Russia breached the international agreements and the basic foundations of the European security architecture.
“There is no more confidence towards Russia. That is why we must continue to consolidate security, NATO’s deterrence and defence posture, and the security of our countries. At the moment we see the fight between democracies and autocracies and we must focus on the security of our territories and defending democratic values”, Eva-Maria Liimets said.
She pleaded for the consolidation of NATO’s Eastern Flank and hailed the Alliance’s recent decisions, particularly those regarding the creation of four new battlegroups.
“We must continue to consolidate the deterrence and defence posture on NATO’s Eastern Flank.(…) We see the situation in Europe has changed since 2016, when the member states established the current defence and deterrence posture and the concept of consolidated advanced presence. We have a war in Europe at the present moment and Russia’s behaviour is unpredictable. We must make all these changes. We must clearly provide in the strategic concept that Russia represents a threat and stress that NATO’s main task is collective defence. (…) In respect to Russia and the security situation in our region, it is clear that we cannot go back to the period before February 24. We must reflect these concerns in our strategic documents. We must reflect that in Europe there is a country that is willing to invade neighbouring sovereign states and we must be prepared to deal with this threat”, Eva-Maria Liimets pointed out.
According to the Estonian Minister, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statements referring to the shift in the security environment in Europe are unacceptable and concerning.
“Putin said that he would want to change the security environment in Europe. This means they not only want to invade Ukraine, but for NATO to withdraw the troops from our country or for us to cease NATO exercises in our countries or put an end to NATO enlargement. There are many requests from Russia that are unacceptable to us. According to the European security architecture, all sovereign states have the right to choose their security guarantees. Russia wants to change this concept, which is very concerning for us. We all want to see that the peace negotiations are successful and that peace is restored. Unfortunately, at the moment, Russia isn’t showing the intention of withdrawing from Ukraine and contributing to restoring the territorial integrity of this country. Ukraine is under a huge pressure”, Liimets said, according to Agerpres.
Aurescu: The International Criminal Court has to act immediately to investigate the crimes committed in Bucha and other parts of Ukraine
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has to act immediately to investigate the crimes committed in Bucha and other parts of Ukraine, for which Russia is accountable, Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said after consulting with his Estonian counterpart Eva-Maria Liimets.
Aurescu said that the need to coordinate the positions of the two countries amidst the current security developments marked by the illegal aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine was underlined and strong condemnation was voiced of Russia’s attacks on civilians.
“Today’s consultations were very substantial, both in terms of intensifying our bilateral co-operation and in terms of coordinating our positions in the current security context marked by the illegal aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. (…) Obviously, the main subject of our discussion was the grave security situation in Ukraine, which affects not only the region but also the entire European and Euro-Atlantic area. We underlined the imperative of the Russian military actions in Ukraine being halted immediately, of the Russian troops withdrawing from the soil of this country, and we once again firmly and strongly condemned the attacks of Russia on civilians,” said Aurescu.
He added that, together with his Estonian counterpart, he strongly condemned the crimes committed in Bucha and other parts of Ukraine.
“Clearly, there is no doubt that Russia is accountable for these crimes, because they were committed in a part of Ukraine when the area was occupied by the Russian armed forces. And it is very important that all those who committed these acts be investigated, brought to justice and held accountable for their actions – it is the reason why both Romania and Estonia and other countries of the international community asked the court’s prosecutor way back on March 2 to launch an investigation into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide committed in Ukraine, including amidst the abusively started conflict, illegally launched by the Russian Federation on February 24. Given the context, we consider it extremely important that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the experts who are part of the prosecutor’s office move immediately to Ukraine to start the investigation in the areas of Bucha and other towns and cities that are already under the control of the Ukrainian authorities, in order to gather evidence in such a way that the cases that will be investigated are extremely solid, so it is extremely important for the International Criminal Court to act immediately in this case,” Aurescu said.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy mentioned that ways of common coordination were analyzed, and also with other allies and partners in order to continue pressure on the Russian Federation, to extend the isolation of the Russian Federation in the world.
“Romania supported and continues to support the strongest possible response from the international community, including the adoption of new packages of EU sanctions that are robust, soundly grounded, and likely to deter Russia from further escalating the conflict. Talks are in full swing at EU level to pass an additional package of such sanctions. Today, we also talked about the importance of energy security at European level and to our countries, including in the context of implementing the necessary measures to eliminate dependencies on the Russian Federation. I also reiterated that it is important to continue the efforts for the energy security of Ukraine and Moldova, which have to get our support.”
Aurescu said also discussed at the meeting were the efforts that Romania made and continues to make to manage the situation of refugees from Ukraine, to support refugees entering Romania and wishing to remain in the country.
Regarding economic co-operation, Aurescu said talks focused on ways to boost bilateral trade, which this year is almost 47% up on the previous year.
“I agreed with the minister that we must continue to support the efforts of our business communities in this regard, and I mentioned earlier a bilateral business forum that will be held. I am convinced that we will be able to identify new avenues for co-operation for our business people,” said Aurescu.
He added that part of the consultations was also co-operation in other areas, with emphasis on digital transformation.
“In fact, a first meeting of the bilateral working group on digital transformation took place last week, and the decision to set up the group was taken during a 2021 visit to Tallinn by President of Romania Mr Klaus Iohannis. The aim of the working group is to capitalise on Estonia’s e-government experience amid Romania’s efforts to implement digital solutions. We also discussed today the important contribution of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, where Romanian experts also participate,” Aurescu said, according to Agerpres.