Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Estonia Maksym Kononenko met with Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Information Technology, Tiit Riisalo. During the discussion, the Ambassador informed the Estonian high official about the current situation on the frontline, Ukraine’s progress in Eurointegration, humanitarian needs in Ukrainian territories affected by the Russian aggression, especially the destructive consequences of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant dam explosion caused by Russian forces. The Ambassador also touched on reconstruction projects facilitated by the Estonian International Development Center in Ukraine, expressing gratitude for Estonia’s specific assistance in rebuilding infrastructure, notably in the Zhytomyr Oblast.
They also gave special attention to Russia’s withdrawal from the Grain Agreement and the risks it poses for 400 million people in Asia and Africa who depend on grain supplies from Ukraine. Maksym Kononenko emphasized that Russia deliberately subjects these people to hunger and hardship, creating a food crisis and bringing political instability, social protests, and forced migration to the most vulnerable countries. The Ambassador urged Estonia to join efforts in safeguarding lives not only in Ukraine but worldwide, from Morocco to China, from Indonesia to Lebanon, and prevent Russia from determining who gets access to bread. The Estonian Minister agreed that food should not be used as a weapon and Russian blackmail should not hinder other parties in continuing the Grain Agreement.
They also discussed further development of Ukrainian-Estonian economic cooperation, particularly in infrastructure restoration projects and other humanitarian initiatives in Ukraine this year. The Ukrainian side proposed establishing a Ukrainian-Estonian Business Council as a platform for information exchange and collaboration. The Estonian Minister supported the initiative and suggested working together to find the optimal way to implement it. According to him, the Estonian side is also contemplating ways to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries. One of the instruments for such collaboration would be the establishment of a Special Joint Commission of business diplomacy, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Digital Technologies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The Estonian Minister also extended an invitation for Ukraine to participate at the highest level in the 8th Open Government Partnership Global Summit to be held on September 6-7, 2023, in Tallinn. During the meeting, Tiit Riisalo briefed the Ambassador on the testing of the beta version of Estonia's national app “mRiik”, inspired by Ukraine’s “Diїa”.
Summing up the discussion, the Minister assured that Estonia will continue providing Ukraine with all possible military and humanitarian assistance, supporting infrastructure reconstruction projects in Ukraine, and Ukraine’s efforts towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration, including full-fledged membership in the EU and NATO.