Estonian MPs call for 'immediate reinforcement' on NATO's Eastern Flank

A NATO flag at Estonia's Ämari Airbase.
A NATO flag at Estonia's Ämari Airbase. Source: Ardi Hallismaa

Russia's demands should not be a basis for negotiations and NATO's Eastern Flank needs immediate reinforcement, the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee agreed on Thursday.

The MPs met to discuss Estonia's position before Friday's NATO foreign ministers' meeting.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said topics for discussion will include broader European security, issues relating to Ukraine and preparations for the NATO-Russia Council later this month.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) said Russia's demands must not be the basis for any talks.

The committee believes it is essential to reinforce the eastern border, he said: "It is in our direct interest that the reinforcement of NATO's Eastern Flank takes place now and immediately."

Additionally, no concessions should be made on the sanctions imposed on Russia, because the aggression against Ukraine has not changed.

It is also important that NATO allies unanimously support the territorial integrity of both Ukraine and Georgia, Mihkelson added.

Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Mihhail Lotman (Isamaa) agreed that NATO must not base its talks on Russia's agenda, but should be proactive and present its own demands.

"It should be made clear that Russia's greater security risks arise from its own aggressive adventures," Lotman said.

Last month, Russia issued a series of demands to the U.S. that NATO should roll back its presence on its Eastern flank and, including in the Baltics, and rule out Georgia or Ukraine joining the alliance in the future.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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