Tallinn is eager to hand over fighting-age men back to Kiev to cut on benefits costs, the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed
Estonia will cut spending on Ukrainian refugees by hauling them back to Kiev to be enrolled into the army, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has argued. During a press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova claimed that Tallinn was conveniently using Kiev’s call for more troops as an excuse to reduce refugee support.
The official referred to comments made by Lauri Laanemets, Estonia’s interior minister, who suggested handing over around 7,000 military-aged Ukrainian men back to their country. On Monday, a draft law was submitted to the Ukrainian parliament, which is meant to boost draft numbers, including by imposing harsh punishments on dodgers.
Zakharova suggested that Tallinn was guided by self-interest in its supposed intention to assist Kiev.
“Those people, who sought refuge in Estonia, they need to be fed, given jobs, medical treatment,” she noted. “Estonia did not sign up for that. It signed up for Russophobia, for endless informational and political attacks on our nation.”
The Estonian government would dispose of the Ukrainians “with enthusiasm,” once the new system is signed into law in Kiev, she predicted.
The Estonian government currently provides various allowances to Ukrainian refugees, including housing, food, healthcare, and assistance for families with children. According to the NGO Estonian Refugee Council, one-time rent compensation can reach up to €1,200 ($1,325).
According to Zakharova, Kiev’s attempts to replenish frontline losses have mostly been futile this year, with only about 40,000 enrolled in the army. The outcome, she argued, was understandable because “there are increasingly fewer people who want to fight for a rotten government rife with corruption and nationalism” in Kiev.
The proposed mobilization reform will turn Ukrainians eligible for mobilization into “disenfranchised slaves,” who would be “hunted down” by officials, she warned.
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