Estonian Prime Minister’s statement amid scandal over her husband’s Russian business

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas will not resign amid a scandal involving her husband’s business in Russia. She made this statement, as reported by the ERR publication.

“I have no plans to resign. As prime minister, I have stood and will continue to stand for the freedom of Ukraine and Estonia,” Kaja Kallas said.

Kaja Kallas refused to resign over her husband’s Russian business

She also added that companies should be punished if they violate sanctions. However, in her opinion, working with clients in Russia, which is not prohibited, is a matter of “moral compass”.

“There should be penalties for trading in sanctioned goods; everything else is a matter of moral compass,” Kallas said.

The prime minister explained that Stark Logistics, where her husband has a share of ownership, was not transporting goods for a Russian partner but for another company with business in Russia.

In addition, Kallas also noted that she did not know the details of her husband’s business before the scandal.

Estonian PM Kallas has been Ukraine’s fervent supporter

As Ukraine resists the Russian invasion, Estonia’s leader has steadfastly supported Ukraine. Estonian opposition leaders have called on Prime Minister Kaja Kallas to resign after it was uncovered that her husband’s company was still operating in Russia.

The Estonian public radio ERR claimed that the transport firm Stark Logistics, which Kallas’ husband, Arvo Hallik, owns a stake in, continued to do business with Russia after Moscow invaded Ukraine. The revelations are embarrassing for Kallas, who has constantly supported Ukraine.

The opposition called on the Prime Minister to resign

According to the newspaper Eesti Päevaleht, a logistics company part-owned by Arvo Hallik, husband of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, made €1.1 million in revenue delivering aerosol cans and other metal containers to Russia in 2022, followed by about €475,000 so far this year.

In a news release following the revelations, Stark Logistics announced that it has only one Estonian client, Metaprint, which is liquidating its plant in Russia.

Prime Minister’s husband didn’t violate sanctions

According to Kallas, her husband’s company is aiding his Estonian clients in Russia “in accordance with the laws and sanctions” that are now in place.

Hallik apologized “for the harm caused to my wife” and said he would sell his interests in Stark Logistics and quit the company immediately.

On April 17, Kallas formed her cabinet, combining her Reform Party, the Social Democrats, and Estonia 200. It holds 60 of the country’s 101 parliamentary seats.

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