Date: 7 December 2018

Baltic States about the Kerch Crisis

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were one of the first countries to react on the Russian activities in the Sea of Azov. Three Baltic states have been politically and morally supporting Ukraine in its struggle with the Russian aggression since 2014. The active attitude of these three countries is caused by the increased awareness about the Russian threat in the region.


The Baltic politicians condemned the Russian aggressive actions in the Caspian Sea in the first hours since the appearance of information about the incidents in the Sea of Azov. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius was the first one to make a statement. Another one was made by Edgars Rinkēvičs, the head of Latvian diplomacy. Both declarations appeared yet before the official announcement about the Russian fire on the Ukrainian units. The third one to make a statement was the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser. All the politicians condemned the Russian actions relating to the violation of the international law by Russia and the Estonian minister called Russia to release the captivated Ukrainian sailors.

In the following days, subsequent Baltic politicians have made their statements. The reaction of Estonia can be considered as the strongest one. After the declaration of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the PM Jüri Ratas and President Kersti Kaljulaid have made their statement. The President named the Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov a war in Europe and called the rest of the European leaders to condemn the Russian aggression.

Further steps, except for the courteous political declarations, were taken by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Russian ambassador Alexander Petrov was summoned and was presented with the official statement according to which the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expected the return of the Ukrainian units and the release of the captivated staff. In the following days, the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser called the West to impose subsequent sanctions against Russia with regard to the incident in the Kerch Strait.

The strong reaction of the Baltic states, especially of Estonia, in comparison to some members of the European Union, will not probably result in subsequent joint sanctions of the West. It is likely that only the United States may adopt a more harsh attitude towards Russia. The voice of the Baltic states and other states of Central-Eastern Europe will probably remain unanswered.

The engagement of the three Baltic states in the active support for Ukraine has lasted for three years. Except for political declarations, within the cooperation, Latvia hospitalises Ukrainian soldiers who become hurt on the front line in Donbas. Lithuania ensures active military cooperation in the field of politics and exchange of experience.

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