Neither the European Union nor NATO will sit idly by in the event of any surge in activity by the Russian Federation, whose military forces have been amassing on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says.
Kallas made her remarks during a speech while in Vilnius for a Baltic Prime ministers meeting with her Lithuanian and Latvian counterparts, Ingrida Šimonytė and Krišjānis Kariņš, and said that: "Both the EU and NATO are following the developments closely. We are ready to respond to any aggression against our partner countries – the actions of Russia in Ukraine will not go unanswered by us, or by our allies."
"Just as we have been able to maintain a strong line in the EU in imposing sanctions on Belarus, we are ready to react jointly and swiftly as Russia continues to escalate towards Ukraine," Kallas continued, according to a government press release.
"We will not accept that an authoritarian state, through military means and threats of force, is trying to force Ukraine to change its decisions – we see a desire to divide Europe, by force or with threats, into spheres of influence. This is an unacceptable and morally wrong policy, and this must also be made clear to Russia," she added.
The turbulent times both regarding Russia and Belarus are also leading the three Baltic States and their allies to even closer cooperation, Kallas said, all the more poignant since Estonia recently celebrated the day marking its having been an independent state longer than it had been under the occupation which followed that original declaration of independence, a situation which Kallas said was not taken for granted.
Last meeting of Baltic Prime Ministers under Lithuania's chairmanship in 2021. Thank you @IngridaSimonyte and looking forward to continuing our meetings next year in Riga in 2022. pic.twitter.com/04hLtOw41J— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) December 8, 2021
Kallas also talked about how impressed she was with Lithuania's dealing with migratory pressure on its own border, as fomented by the Alexander Lukanshenko regime in Belarus.
She said: "Lithuania has coped well with the hybrid attack – I will get acquainted with the Lithuanian experience on the spot and I will also meet with the Estonian police officers who have gained direct and valuable experience in the front line of the hybrid attack in the ESTPOL 5 team."
Estonia has been sending a Police and Border Guard (PPA) team on monthly rotations to Lithuania since the crisis started, in mid-summer.
The Estonian prime minister also noted the importance of continuing to develop energy connectivity between the three Baltic States and Poland, and the rest of the EU, at a time when electricity and other energy prices have been soaring.
"Right now, the biggest concern for all of us is the electricity prices. The rising energy prices are forcing us to act quickly," Kallas said.
"We need a stronger framework for the single electricity market that can withstand high prices and crises. We must work together to find ways to ensure more stable electricity prices in the Baltic States. The best way to do this is to invest in new production capacity and energy savings. "
The issue would also be raised at EU level, Kallas said.
"Electricity price shocks should not become the new norm, and it is understandable that people and businesses expect support from governments. I think it is important that the issue of energy prices is discussed by the EU Council in Brussels next week. I will make sure to raise the issue there as well," she continued.
Kallas said that energy connections between the Baltic States and the rest of the EU were very important for energy security, while the Connecting Europe Facility should help to continue with this goal.
She also expressed hope over progress on the proposed joint Estonian-Latvian offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga, calling renewables on of the most important aspects of all the countries' future economies and harmony on energy between the three states important ahead of the impending EU "Fit for 55" proposals.
Socio-economic aspects and the important accompanying reforms must also be kept in mind, she said.
Kallas also expressed satisfaction with progress on the Rail Baltica high-speed rail link, which will pass through all three countries, calling it a good example of the kind of cooperation which can happen between the three states.
Editor: Andrew Whyte