Keit Pentus-Rosimannus: With Russia continuing to act as an aggressor, the European Union's policy so far will continue


Today in Brussels, at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council’s discussion on Russia, Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus stressed that Russia, continuing its aggressive behaviour, cannot be regarded as a strategic partner. “The European Union's policy so far towards Russia, which continues to act as an aggressor, must continue and this also means continuing with sanctions,” Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said.

The European Union’s foreign policy leaders discussed how the European Union should continue to communicate with Russia strategically. In 2014 the European Union implemented a self-restrained policy line with Russia and imposed a regime of sanctions in reaction to Russia’s aggressive behaviour in Ukraine and the occupation and annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

According to European Union Foreign Ministers, there is no need to review the current state of relations if Russia has not changed its behaviour or fulfilled its commitments and promises. “Russia must stop its occupation of one part of Ukraine, supporting separatists and Ukraine must be able to regain control over its territory and borders; then there will be cause for the European Union to return to the debate on sanctions,” Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said, according to whom the imposed restrictions have given Russia a clear message that severe violations of international law and undermining the security of Europe will not be accepted. Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus stressed that regarding the current state of relations with Russia, conditionality is a key element and if necessary, the tightening of the sanction policy cannot be excluded. Longer-term policy guidelines for relations with Russia will be confirmed by the European Council in March. The current EU policy towards Russia has been agreed upon at the level of heads of state and government.

According to Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, the Foreign Ministers expressed concern over the tense situation which has evolved in the past few days and the increase in fighting in eastern Ukraine near the Donetsk airport and called for an immediate cessation of violence.

The Estonian Foreign Minister said that for years there has been no success in relations between the European Union and Russia and that nothing has been eliminated from the list of problems, which was quite long even before the current crisis; instead, the list of problems is growing. Therefore, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus insisted that in the long term it is not possible to return to business as usual regarding relations with Russia, since Russia follows and implements a completely different kind of policy which is inappropriate for European Union partners.

Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus drew her colleagues' attention to the fact that a number of provocations and strong pressure towards its neighbours has been seen in Russia’s behaviour. “The abduction of an Estonian police officer from European Union territory is one of those examples, where Russia has severely breached international law and this is a very serious matter,” Pentus-Rosimannus noted.

On the topic of possible relations with the Eurasian Economic Union, the Estonian Foreign Minister estimates that it is currently too early to start discussions on the establishment of relations with the Union, which was founded only 19 days ago.

For more information:

Marika Post
Press Spokesperson, Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

(+372) 637 7654


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