Foreign affairs committee chair: Continued support from Washington crucial
While Estonia is ready to stand alongside its NATO allies and in support of Ukraine, transatlantic assistance to all three Baltic States should remain at its current level, or better still be augmented, Riigikogu foreign affairs committee chair Marko Mihkelson (Reform) says.
In Washington for a meeting on security with members of both chambers of the U.S. Congress Friday, Mihkelson said: "At the moment, it is very important to demonstrate the unity of the NATO allies. We are standing behind Ukraine and we are ready to help the Ukrainians with real defense capability."
"Due to the escalation of Russia's possible military activities against Ukraine, the situation is undeniably critical. Attack against Ukraine is an attack against us all, against the democratic countries," he continued, quoted by a Riigikogu press release.
Mihkelson was joined by a delegation of the foreign affairs committee, which included Indrek Saar (SDE), Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski (Center) and Raivo Tamm (Isamaa).
Indrek Saar, SDE party leader, said that the visit and its meetings was also important for Estonia-U.S. relations.
He said: "The meetings confirmed that our concerns are shared and that the Americans understand the importance of defence assistance for Estonia and the other Baltic States," adding that next year's 100th anniversary of the establishment of U.S.-Estonian diplomatic relations, and how this might be marked, was also on the table.
Saar underlined that the visit proved that the worrying security developments in the Baltic States region were also a concern for the U.S., which he referred to as Estonia's most important ally.
Mihkelson added there could not have been a better time for the visit than now when both the Senate and the House of Representatives are discussing the defense budget for 2022.
The Baltic Security Initiative budget package or the defense assistance to the Baltic States, is vital in its current extent as a bare minimum, while a boost would help to fill the key gaps in Estonia's defense planning, he went on.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte