Alongside Britain, Estonia has been among Kyiv’s staunchest allies in its efforts to repulse Putin’s forces, delivering more military equipment to Ukraine since February as a portion of GDP per capita than any other country in the world. Kaja Kallas, its prime minister, is in London today and spoke at her country’s embassy. She took questions on a range of topics and didn’t hold back – especially when it came to Emmanuel Macron.
He has tried to position himself as a mediator between Putin and the west throughout this conflict, only to end up being played like a $10 banjo. The Ukrainians are unwilling to cede territory to force while the Russians don’t want to lose face. After Macron’s latest initiative at the weekend – his latest repeat of the call not to humiliate Russia – Kyiv’s foreign minister Dmitro Kuleba hit back and rebuked the president’s position, saying it ‘can only humiliate France’. Asked about Macron at the Estonian embassy in London this morning, Kallas had this to say:-
Coming to Macron, I spoke to him about these things. I tried to say: look at the definition of genocide – if you will to wipe off a nation, or part of a nation – and act accordingly. This is [according to] the Genocide Convention. This is what Putin is doing: literally. So every time you talk to him, that should also be kept in mind… Talking about ‘off ramps’ and ‘saving face,’ I mean: Putin can well save face by going back to Russia. They are in a sovereign country, trying to occupy that country and part of that territory. Look at the statements that the soldiers have made who are on the battlefield. There is an intention to ‘rape every Nazi whore, killing the Nazis, liberating people from the Nazis’, ‘this de-Nazification’ – it definitely works as propaganda and this is going on [against] the Genocide Convention.
So I don’t see any point in really talking to him [Putin] if we want to get the message through that he’s isolated. And also get the message through that you will not get unpunished for this. You will have to be held accountable for all the crimes committed because that was in the Nuremberg Trial… war crimes are not committed by any abstract entity, but by individuals. The individuals are also held – or should be held accountable – for these things. So this is my worry of talking to him. And as long as this goes on, it means that Russia has the feeling that ‘we are winning and they will forgive us.’ This is the negotiation tactics that they have had so long.
Will such caustic comments dissuade Macron from such further Russian dalliances in the future? Mr S for one won’t be holding his breath.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.