REUTERS

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says the European Union should be ready to "raise the cost" of aggression and rights violations committed by Russia.

On Friday, February 19, Kuleba held a first phone call with his Estonian counterpart Eva-Maria Liimets, according to MFA Ukraine's press service.

The two ministers discussed EU policy towards Russia ahead of an upcoming meeting of the EU Council of Ministers where the issue will be on top agenda. Kuleba has noted the two key facts that do not allow for any change in approaches to Russia.

"Fact 1: Moscow has not made a single constructive step towards normalization of relations, has not given any reason to talk about changing the existing five principles of the EU policy towards Russia. Fact 2: while maintaining a constructive attitude, the EU should be ready to raise the cost for Russia for its violation of international law and human rights," Kuleba said.

The top diplomat is also convinced that the EU sanctions mechanisms for rights violations should be applied both to those guilty of persecuting the opposition and peaceful protesters in Russia, and to those responsible for Russia's criminal actions in the temporarily occupied Crimea.

"The Moscow visit of [Vice President of the European Commission, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy] Josep Borrell has shown that the Russian side responds to European politeness with unceremonious audacity," he said.

Kuleba has also briefed the interlocutor on the security situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and thanked Estonia for its continued support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as maintaining EU sanctions targeting Russia.

Read alsoPreparations for Zelensky-Biden first phone call underway – FM KulebaThe minister has welcomed Estonia's decision to join the "Crimean Platform" and reiterated President Volodymyr Zelensky's invitation to President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid to attend the inaugural summit.

Also, Kuleba welcomes the positive experience of cooperation between Ukraine and Estonia in countering threats to international peace and security during Estonia's non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council, and expressed confidence in continuing close cooperation.

The parties discussed preparations for the second Global Conference on Media Freedom (GCMF21) to be held in Estonia this year and agreed that among top issues on its agenda should be the fight against disinformation, in particular based on the experience that Ukraine has gained over the years of successfully countering Russian propaganda.