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Mediazona: Estonian PM Kaja Kallas among foreigners on Russian wanted list

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 13, 2024 3:40 PM 2 min read
Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas speaks during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, (not pictured) at the Tapa Army Base on March 1, 2022, in Tallinn, Estonia. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Russian independent media outlet Mediazona reported on Feb. 13 that it has analyzed the Russian Internal Ministry's wanted persons list database and developed a search tool that reveals dozens of European politicians are listed, including Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.

It was already known that Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence, Jamala, the Ukrainian singer who won Eurovision in 2016, Meta Spokesperson Andy Stone, and the heads of the International Criminal Court were included on the federal wanted list.

The list includes nearly 100,000 individuals who are sought in connection to criminal cases, Mediazona said.

The outlet found that Russia is actively seeking Kallas, the only head of state on the list, as well as "numerous high-ranking Ukrainian military officials and hundreds of individuals" marked as foreign fighters in Ukraine's military.

Many of the names relate to the work of a special department for "denazification," which was established in late 2020, Mediazona said.

After the start of Russia's full-scale invasion, this department opened hundreds of cases since a key Russian propaganda narrative, and one of the Moscow-claimed pretexts for the invasion, was that Ukraine needed to be "denazified."

The wanted list then grew with names of "foreigners who are unlikely to ever visit Russia," Mediazona said.

These included Ukrainian journalists, military personnel, and European officials who decided to dismantle Soviet monuments, which Russia frames as "rehabilitating Nazism."

Kallas has publicly supported the demolition of Soviet monuments, but "the selection criteria for individuals targeted by Russian investigators for dismantling Soviet monuments remain unclear," Mediazona said.

The wanted list also includes six members of Vilnius city council and Culture Minister Simonas Kairys for the dismantling of a Soviet soldier monument. In total, 29 Lithuanian citizens are listed.

The list also names 100 Georgians, 93 British nationals, 61 Belarusians, 23 Israelis, and 21 Americans among a separate category of foreigners sought by the Russian authorities.

Georgians likely rank first among foreign fighters killed fighting for Ukraine
Estimates vary, but Georgian media approximates that between 50-60 Georgian soldiers have been killed fighting for Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022, making it likely the highest death toll of any foreign nationality fighting on the Ukrainian side.
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