Scandinavia to Baltics, a concern over Ukraine war, applause for India
As Ukraine has notched up military successes and Russia has doubled down on its offensive, there is concern and anxiety among the front line states that border Russia about the situation
As Ukraine has notched up military successes and Russia has doubled down on its offensive, there is concern and anxiety among the front line states that border Russia about the situation. But a common strain runs through some of these nations, triggered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment to Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier this month that this is “not an era of war”.
In conversations with HT after their meeting with external affairs minister S Jaishankar, the foreign ministers of Norway — a key Scandinavian country bordering Russia -- and Estonia — a Baltic nation that is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) -- expressed their concerns about Russia’s escalatory rhetoric and applauded India for its stand.
About his meeting with Jaishankar, the Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, said: “It was very useful. We are going to erect a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, an idea that arose from his 150th anniversary. I stated my gratitude to foreign minister for opening Indian embassy in Tallinn and stated that it was most important for the world community to give a clear response to the aggression war of Russia which takes place against an innocent victim nation, Ukraine.“
He added that Estonia commended PM Narendra Modi’s words about the need to end the war.
On Ukraine, Reinsalu said, “Our concept is clear that we need to ramp up the price to aggressor state... My belief is that the only person on the earth who can end the war is Putin and to do that, we need in the most clearest way a sign from our world community the need to tackle the aggressor state.”
He said he conveyed to Jaishankar the clear need to address in the United Nations that there must be accountability for people responsible for “war aggression ”.
After the meeting, Jaishankar tweeted, “Discussed the deepening of bilateral cooperation following opening of our Embassy. Also exchanged views on developments pertaining to Ukraine.”
When asked if Estonia felt that the military balance changed decisively in Ukraine’s favour, or Russia could organise a counteroffensive with its recent steps, Reinsalu said, “There can be changes in a war... in the course of all wars... but we applaud the magnificent outcome of Ukraine’s counteroffensive of Ukrainian forces.” He said that Estonia would call the world community, like minded countries, to continue the “arms deliveries to Ukraine”. “This is the most cost-efficient and humanitarian action to end in the nearest future this ugly and bloody war”.
He added that his expectation from India, “as the biggest democracy in the world” and Security Council member, is that it will remain “consistent” in calls towards the Russian regime to end the war.
The Norwegian foreign minister, Anniken Huitfeldt, who met Jaishankar, said that her meeting was “extremely constructive” with “very good atmospherics”; and there were a lot of “great opportunities” to build relations with India.
On Ukraine, she said that her country was “extremely disturbed” about the “latest news” — in what appeared to be a reference to Putin’s recent announcements on military mobilisation and nuclear threats. “This will increase the human suffering in Ukraine but also the rest of the world. We can clearly see the global consequences of this terrible war from food to energy prices. People all over are suffering due to this terrible war.”
She added that she appreciated Modi’s message to Putin and called it a “very, very strong message”.
“We have to do our utmost to stop the war and this was my message to the Chinese foreign minister who I met earlier today,” said Huitfeldt.
Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting that was glad to meet his Norwegian counterpart. “Appreciate our ongoing cooperation in the UN Security Council. Discussed our Nordic partnership , Afghanistan, Ukraine and climate action.”
- Russia Ukraine Crisis