Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has appealed to the people of neighboring Russia to make it clear the European Union is not acting against them, but against President Vladimir Putin following his invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to lawmakers at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Kallas stressed that current sanctions are "intended to isolate President Putin and his government which is conducting a brutal war against Ukraine."
But she also cautioned the Russian people that the consequences of sanctions implemented against Moscow since the invasion will get much worse, warning that Putin is an “autocrat” who "does not care for the people" and "only cares for his power [...] that is something that is so hard to understand in a democratic world.”
Kallas, reflecting on her childhood growing up in Soviet-era Estonia, said: "Your government is already instituting practices that are familiar to me.
"Like censorship, like threatening journalists with a 15-year prison sentence for speaking about the war, like rationing for foodstuffs, like asking teachers to report on the political sympathies of their pupils and their parents."
Kallas said Putin’s actions have left ordinary Russians living in an "isolated infospace" and without access to the truth. The task of the European Union is to "break the wall of lies," she said.
"It is a complicated task. We need to mobilize our technological potential to win the war for truth," said Kallas, warning that “we are in this for the long haul. We will have to exercise strategic patience because peace is not going to break out tomorrow."