Kaja Kallas, elected just over a year ago as Estonia’s head of government, stresses the need for Europe not to back down from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the daughter of a former deportee by the then Soviet regime called for a firm stance on the part of the European Union (EU).
“This is a long-term situation [war in Ukraine]. Peace will not come tomorrow. President Putin will come to test us and we will have to resist,” said Kaja Kallas, at the start of a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, on Europe’s role in a changing world, after the invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russian military forces.
The Estonian ruler recalled her family’s history to show the solidarity of the member states in the face of the “atrocities” resulting from the war. Kaja Kallas’s grandmother and mother were deported to Siberia by the Stalin regime, which ruled the USSR from 1922 to 1953. “Unknowns helped my mother when she was still a baby,” she said.
Like other European leaders, the Estonian Prime Minister also stressed that the EU is not against Russia, but against the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We hope for a democratic Russia ruled by the rule of law,” she said.
Kallas stressed the urgency for Europe not to depend on Russia for energy and to “adopt a stance on the defense plan”, referring that 2% of the Gross Domestic Product of the Member States should be a “minimum requirement” in defense spending. As already announced by Germany.
Ukraine, she says, “wants to take her place” with the European Union. “It is fighting for itself and for Europe”, concluded the Estonian head of government.
Joseph Borrell, EU diplomacy chief, revealed in the same debate the approval of further sanctions on Russian oligarchs and three Belarusian banks. After 24 February, the day of the invasion of Ukraine, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy assumes that Europe “should have been” quicker to act.
“We must accept some criticism. Times demand a firm stance and we must be ready to respect the respective price”, he said, namely problems in energy supply, the flow of refugees, and the fragmentation of the world economy.
The number of people who fled the war in Ukraine exceeded 2.1 million, according to the United Nations, in just 12 days. Poland remains the country that receives the most refugees.
Source: with agencies