NATO and EU Need to Counter Russia, Ilves and Komorowski Say
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, on a state visit to Poland, met with his Polish counterpart Bronisław Komorowski today and both stressed the need to boost NATO’s visibility and credibility in the face of the crisis in Ukraine.
“Estonia and Poland are close allies, friends who think and act alike, who stand for a democratic Europe together,” Ilves said.
The Estonian head of state said the countries had a common vision of defense spending and need for common military exercises, the president’s office said in a press release.
Commenting on the crisis in Ukraine, Ilves said that it has become a crisis for the whole of Europe. “Both Estonia as well as Poland understand that this is not just an issue of Crimea, of the relations between Ukraine and Russia. It is a geopolitical shift that will, at least for the immediate future, change the entire security situation in Europe and the interaction of democratic states with Russia.”
“The common position of the European Union cannot be the price of gas, but the values on which our union is founded,” Ilves said.
He urged the EU and NATO to consider efficient counteractions to Russia, which, he said, has walked over the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, international law, the UN charter and founding documents of the OSCE.
Both presidents stressed that the next NATO summit, taking place in September, must focus on improving the alliance’s collective defense and credibility, of which a visible U.S. military presence is an inseparable part, they said.
The president’s state visit will last until March 20 and he will also meet with Marshal of the Senat Bogdan Borusewicz, Marshal of the Sejm Ewa Kopacz, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski.
President Ilves is accompanied by his wife Evelin Ilves and an official delegation that includes several members of the outgoing cabinet: Minister of Defense Urmas Reinsalu, Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts, and Minister of Culture Urve Tiidus; and Defense Forces Commander in Chief Major General Riho Terras.