Estonian Foreign Minister Tsahkna in the annual foreign policy speech: no one wants to live in a world where Putins roam

Today 13 February, Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna presented a report on foreign policy at the Parliament of Estonia (Riigikogu), and outlined the main objectives and lines of action in Estonia’s foreign policy. The minister focused on the ways we can achieve victory for Ukraine and ensure that the values we cherish endure.

Tsahkna noted that just as Ukrainians have been determined in their resistance to Russia’s aggression, Estonia has been determined in its support to Ukraine and it will continue until Ukraine’s victory. “The Ukrainian state must endure in its territorial integrity. Force should not be the instrument for changing national borders and trampling on sovereignty, not now nor in the future, not in Ukraine nor anywhere else,” the minister said. “Aggression must not succeed; it must not become a new acceptable reality. Otherwise, the world will become the domain of force, arrogance, callousness, authoritarianism.”

To end the politics of force, it is key to punish the perpetrators of crimes and those who are carrying out the aggression. “No one wants to live in a world where Putins roam, kidnapping and orphaning children, attempting to cancel their neighbours and mining nuclear power plants,” the minister said. “If these kinds of criminals go unpunished it will only encourage future aggressors. Perpetrators of crimes must be punished; they must be brought to justice. The most appropriate way to process the crime of aggression is to create an international tribunal on the recommendation of the UN General Assembly. No position in the world should bring anyone immunity from this.”

The minister recalled that in line with international law, Russia is obligated to compensate the damage it has caused in Ukraine. “As long as Russia has not done so, we must find a way to use the frozen or blocked assets of Russia and Russian citizens,” Tsahkna said. “Here, too, Estonia leads the way, initiates and inspires. The government has composed a bill that makes it possible to use frozen and blocked assets.”

Speaking about Europe’s security architecture, Tsahkna said the European Union and NATO are and must remain its foundations, with Ukraine as a member.

“Ukraine must become a member of NATO and the European Union, it is a guarantee that makes the aggressor doubt the effectiveness of its militant and destructive objectives,” Tsahkna said. “It is Estonia’s position that Ukraine must receive a clear message about becoming a member at the upcoming NATO summit in Washington. However, the most important thing is for Putin to become convinced about Ukraine’s NATO accession, convinced that there is no more Ukraine as a grey zone.”

The minister said that for Ukraine to win the war, it is necessary to continue working on next packages of sanctions; agree on sustainable and long-term military support for Ukraine; continue isolating Russia internationally; and start rebuilding Ukraine now, so that the people of Ukraine are better able to cope with the brutal consequences of war.

Tsahkna noted that the world was an uneasy place, and not only due to Russia’s aggression. Faced with a conflict in the Middle East, migratory pressure and climate change, we must uphold the values we cherish, and our humanity.

“We must safeguard the European Union and NATO, our Allies and friends, with whom we have worked for the same cause for 20 years now,” the minister said. “The wars in Ukraine and Gaza demonstrate that our way of life and principles that underpin democratic society and our own independence need special care, attention and protection.”

This is why Estonia has launched the Fit for Freedom initiative, which entails three main lines of action. They are the protection of fundamental and human rights, reinforcing the rules-based international order, and integrating the civil society with various levels of policy-making.

The full text of the speech.

Photos of the event.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Foregin Affairs