Minister of Defence: What the Russians want, we cannot give them

Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Isamaa).
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Isamaa). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Minister of Defense Jüri Luik said he is sceptical about French President Emmanuel Macron's call for increased dialogue with Russia and believes heads of NATO member states should stop making "colorful hyperbolic" remarks.

Speaking on Monday evenings Valisilm foreign affairs TV show he said: "Having been [Estonia's] ambassador to Russia, I imagine that this dialogue does not carry much added value for the Russians. They want to get something out of it. What the Russians want to have, we cannot give them," Luik said.

The Estonian minister noted that it would be reasonable for heads of NATO member states to abandon their "colorful hyperbolic style", which they often tend to use when giving interviews. 

"We should focus on our shared values and real security threats. If Russia is a threat, we need to be honest about it -- there is no point in trying to sweep it under the rug or talk up the situation," he said.

Luik added that there is no plan B to NATO as Minister of the Interior Mart Helme said last month. However, one can imagine the options Estonia would have without NATO, he said.

"We have an idea about our options - if there were no NATO, there would be the European Union or possibly some Nordic cooperation but clearly, none of these options guarantees deterrence. The only real deterrence is the one that includes the United States," he said.

When asked if there is a threat of NATO losing its credibility due to the conflicts between its member states, Luik said that he does not perceive any such threat.

"Russia has become a threat again, and the need for NATO is stronger than ever. This is the framework holding the European defense together -- an agreement between states that allows us to continue pursuing our strategic goal despite the internal political flutters." 

Luik also said the the summit will not discuss updating the defense plans of the Baltic States and Poland. "Although this is a very important topic for us, it is not a topic at the level of heads of state," Luik explained to presenter Johannes Tralla.

Luik said there are effective defense plans in place in Poland and the Baltic states, but they are revised from time to time. "As a leak on Reuters demonstrated, we are trying to reach a compromise - the leak certainly did not help - but even if a major breakthrough in London is not achieved, I am confident it will be achievable," Luik said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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