23.11. 2009 Tunne Kelam: Selling Mistral-type helicopter carriers to Russia equals rewarding Kremlin for its invasion of Georgia

Statement at opening session of European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg:

The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is the only international mission monitoring the implementation of the August 12 and September 8, 2008 agreements between Russia and Georgia.   

Catherine Ashton should now make it perfectly clear to the Russian side that they must guarantee EUMM access to the separatist occupied Georgian territories without any further delay. 

Today, a French Mistral-type helicopter carrier arrived in St. Petersburg.  The plan to sell this modern warship to Russia is tantamount to rewarding the Kremlin for its invasion of Georgia last year.

In the words of the Commander of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vysotsky, in August 2008 this type of ship would have enabled the Russian fleet to carry out its mission in 40 minutes instead of 26 hours. 

If so, President Sarkozy would have had no time to prevent Mr. Putin at the last moment from occupying the Georgian capital.   Providing the Russian Navy with the newest NATO technology means taking responsibility for encouraging Kremlin hawks to carry out in real life the scenarios for invading territories of their neighbours as practiced in their recent military exercises.  This will be a very heavy blow to the credibility and solidarity of NATO defence policies.