West Must Avoid Russian ‘Trap’ in Talks, Estonian Premier Says
(Bloomberg) -- Estonia’s prime minister issued a warning that the European Union and the U.S. must avoid falling into a Russian “trap” in negotiations with the Kremlin, whose aim is to weaken security in the EU.
Russia’s negotiating tactics amount to “blackmail,” said Kaja Kallas, the Estonian premier, using some of the most hawkish language of an EU member state leader. A former Soviet republic, Estonia lies on the EU’s eastern frontier bordering Russia.
“We must not fall for the trap they have set, which is designed to fatally undermine European security as we know it and to coax us into making concessions,” Kallas said in a statement after a phone call with her Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, on Monday. “It is, in a word, blackmail.”
Russian and American officials met last week to discuss a military buildup near Ukraine’s border and demands made by President Vladimir Putin that NATO rule out future membership for Ukraine and withdraw forces to positions it held in 1997.
While the U.S. and EU reject giving Russia a veto over NATO membership, U.S. diplomats say they are willing to discuss bilateral issues including the size and scope of future military exercises and the placement of intermediate-range missile systems in Europe. The U.S. withdrew from a treaty regulating such weapons in 2019.
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