Estonian president eager to help Belarus

Estonia has initiated a discussion about Belarus in the UN Security Council, supported the Belarusian protest in the European Union Council. It now wants to ensure that sanctioned capital does not go through the country.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya giving a joint press conference. Tallinn, Estonia. May 31, 2021. Photo: Telegram

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya met with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on May 31. They gave a joint press conference to discuss the support of democratic forces in Belarus. The Estonian public broadcaster reports their statements.

Tsikhanouskaya’s office notes that the President of Estonia honored the death of political prisoner Vitold Ashurak and all the victims of the Belarusian regime with a minute of silence. At the meeting, she also mentioned the criminal case against the portal and the detention of journalist Raman Pratasevich together with his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega.

Tsikhanouskaya thanked Estonia for the “unequivocal declaration of support for the Belarusians” – including assistance in the Council of the European Union and initiating a discussion about Belarus in the Security Council of the United Nations (Estonia will chair the UN Security Council on Tuesday), as well as technical support for the free press and Belarusian students. She expressed confidence that Estonia is “doing everything in its power.”

Kaljulaid affirmed this but added:

“Whether there’s any fruit from this – I’ll be honest, I don’t know. We would like to see more rapid change, but often we feel powerless. You have managed to put Belarus back on the map of Europe. A couple of years ago Belarus was a forgotten country, but now it’s not. This is the achievement of the Belarusian people.”

Now, says the President of Estonia, she will pass the information to the relevant ministries on how the Belarusian capital, covered by the sanctions, may pass through her country.

Tsikhanouskaya added that the EU sanctions could have been toughened but admitted that the EU could “leave some space for their strengthening before.” Tsikhanouskaya also noted: protests in Belarus should expand, but “it’s easy to talk about increasing pressure when you live in exile.”

“You can’t even imagine the level of repression in Belarus,” Tsikhanouskaya said of the possibility of expanding protests.