Alar Karis urges the West to keep up the pressure on ordinary Russian citizens, to force political “change” in Moscow Estonian President Alar Karis at a press conference in Tallinn, Estonia on January 11, 2024 © Anadolu/Getty Images

Estonian President Alar Karis has claimed that meaningful discussions on ending the Ukraine conflict can only take place when Moscow is fully subdued, while calling on Western nations to push for political change in Russia.

In an interview with the news website Yle on Sunday – ahead of Finnish President Alexander Stubb’s state visit to Tallinn, which began on Monday – Karis expressed skepticism over whether Russia can “change” quickly enough to “respond to our [Western] understanding of democracy.”

He urged Western powers to intensify the pressure on Moscow – referring to sanctions imposed by the EU and US since the start of the conflict – with the goal of fueling public discontent among ordinary Russians.

After the collapse of the USSR, Russia had a “chance” but then something went “wrong,” and now even regime change and the removal of President Vladimir Putin would not have the effect desired by the West, the president of Estonia, an EU and NATO member state, argued.

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“Maybe you have to wait a little longer, many similar leaders, before change occurs,” he continued.

The head of state, who under the Estonian system has a role subordinate to the prime minister, went on to say that defeating Russia remains a top priority for the West.

“We will do everything possible to bring Russia and Putin to their knees,” Karis stressed. “Then it will be possible to start serious negotiations on ending the war in Ukraine.”

Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the Estonian leadership has adopted a hawkish stance towards Moscow, regularly referring to the country as “an aggressor” and an “existential threat” to the Baltic states.

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Last week Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas suggested that the conflict between Moscow and Kiev should end with Russia’s defeat and subsequent breakup of the Russian Federation into separate states, arguing that it would bring “a change in society.” She repeatedly urged NATO nations to keep “all options on the table” to ensure that Moscow “loses the war.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly decried Western involvement in the conflict, accusing NATO of waging a proxy war against Russia. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that “the acute phase of the military-political confrontation with the West” is currently in “full swing,” with no end in sight, claiming that “many facts” indicate that “Europe as a partner” will remain irrelevant for at least another generation. (RT)