Rõivas: The Estonian people are with the people of France (3)
Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and President Toomas Hendrik Ilves took to social media to express their condolences after a terrorist attack committed on the evening of Bastille Day in the city of Nice, on France's Mediterranean coast, took the lives of over 80 people and injured more than 100.
"The French people celebrated their national holiday yesterday — they enjoyed freedom, equality and fraternity across the entire country, including in Nice. The attack committed was a brutal and cowardly crime directed at innocent and peaceful people on France's day of celebration," wrote Prime Minister Rõivas on social media.
"My sincere condolences to the victims' loved ones and the people of France," he continued. "The Estonian people are together with [you] in our thoughts. We cannot yield to terrorists, and we must hold high the European values against which attack was directed."
"My deepest condolences," wrote President Ilves. "Estonia stands with the citizens of Nice, with France and the French people. We all mourn on this dark day."
The president also sent his condolences to the French President François Hollande: "I am shocked by the atrocious terrorist attack in Nice last night in which innocent people were killed. This attack once again reminds us of our common responsibility to fight terrorism and blind hate."
"My thoughts today are with all the relative of the deceased and injured victims of the barbaric terrorist attack that occurred on the evening of the French national holiday, Bastille Day," wrote Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand. "That attack was directed against all nations that strive for freedom and equality, against our common values. The security of Europe and its citizens is our most important challenge today, and we must jointly confront those who fail to respect human lives and basic values that differ from theirs. Estonia will do its utmost to make the fight against terrorism more decisive and effective. We will stand alongside other countries and international organizations in this."
The foreign minister added that they had received reports of Estonian citizens among those injured in the attack, and that "This tragedy indeed strongly affects us all. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will do everything it can to establish the facts regarding the affected Estonian citizens and residents and render assistance to those who need it. To this end, we have been cooperating with Frenh national and local Nice authorities."
"We are together in our thoughts with the people of France and the victims of the attack," read a statement from the Riigikogu's European Union Affairs Committee, whose session today began with a moment of silence. "The attack that occurred in Nice confirms once again that together we must stand firm against terrorist attacks and commit to solving their underlying causes."
The Estonian government's Strategic Communication Adviser Ilmar Raag confirmed to ERR's online news portal that Estonia's security threat level has not changed in response to the attack.
Deadly attack on the Promenade des Anglais
Late Thursday evening, sometime between 10:30 and 11 p.m., an armed attacker drove a 19-ton truck approximately two kilometers, or 1.25 miles, into a crowd of people watching a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice; the driver was killed by police.
According to French Ministry of the Interior spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet, at least 84 people have been reported killed and more than 100 injured, of which at least 18 are listed in critical condition.
Two Estonian citizens were among those injured in the attack, reported a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
TMinistry of Foreign Affairs is urging anyone visiting Nice to let loved ones know that they are safe, and asking anyone who has been unable to contact a loved one in Nice to call +372 5301 9999 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Estonian government has also requested that all Estonians currently in Nice contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via their 24-hour hotline +372 6377 000.