Estonian President Toomas Ilves believes that the West has not adequately responded to Russian occupation of Crimea and Russian aggression in Donbas.
He said this in an interview with the American Interest online news site.
“Since the invasion and annexation of Crimea, we’ve seen the collapse of the Transatlantic security environment as we’ve known it. We could start with the UN charter, which forbids aggression, but in the Transatlantic space the basis for security has been the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, which specifically forbids a change in borders through force or threat of force. That no longer holds,” Ilves said.
According to him, Moscow has repeatedly stated its aggressive intentions, but the EU and the United States didn’t react to this and allowed Russia to behave aggressively. The Estonian president recalled that Russia had violated all international agreements prohibiting military aggression already in 2008, when it invaded Georgia.
“In fact, they let it slide, I would say, first by breaking off negotiations over the EU-Russia partnership as long as Russian troops remained. Then, a month later, with no change in status of foreign troops, Europe claimed, ‘Thank God common sense prevailed.’ That was 2008, so we’ve hit the snooze button a few times; but now, finally, we have the wake-up call,” the president said.
According to Ilves, Europe has responded to the Russian invasion non-adequately and a month later returned to normal cooperation with Moscow.
“We have allowed aggression to stand in Georgia, having done nothing and instead gone off on this ‘peace, love, Woodstock’ idea,” he said.
“Consider the statements by Medvedev and Putin in 2009, that they invaded Georgia to keep it from joining NATO – but now Russia’s rationale for doing what it did is something so minor as Ukraine’s wanting to sign an Association Agreement with the EU,” Ilves said.
“Basically, the Association Agreement provides for teacher/student exchange programs and a slightly reduced tariff rate. This is not European Transatlantic imperialism, advancing to the borders of Russia with its evil designs,” the Estonian president added.