Estonia proposes EU arms embargo against Russia

Tallinn, March 19: Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet Tuesday called on the European Union (EU) to further sanctions against Russia, saying an arms embargo should be one of the first issues on the agenda.

After Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, the EU decided Monday to impose sanctions, including visa bans and freezing assets, against 21 Russian and Crimean officials, identifying them as “associated with the decisions that Russia has made about Crimea”, Xinhua reported

The minister said: “There is still no decision on a second round of sanctions, which would mean financial restrictions,” according to the report by Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR).

“If we think further, the first most logical issue should concern a weapons embargo,” said Paet, adding, “It has been discussed briefly, but no decisions have been made.”

Estonia’s position is that an embargo needs to be discussed but the cancellation of the sale of Mistrals is mainly France’s decision, said the report.

Paet added that speculations over the possible economic damage the sanctions could cause to Estonia is not a sticking point yet, as economic sanctions have not been discussed in detail.

Crimea, a Ukrainian autonomous republic, held a referendum Sunday, with some 96.6 percent of the voters voting for joining Russia.

On Monday, the Crimean parliament adopted a resolution on the independence of the territory and asked Russia to admit it as its new constituent member.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to recognise Crimea as a sovereign and independent state.

Putin insisted on Sunday in the telephone conversation with Merkel that the Crimea referendum breach no international law and Moscow will respect the choice of local residents.

IANS