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Ministry secretary general: NATO resolve unanimous

Jonatan Vseviov on 'Esimene stuudio'.
Jonatan Vseviov on 'Esimene stuudio'. Source: ERR

While noone wants to be in a leading role were security in Europe to fail as the consequence of a political error, Russia's pushing back at the NATO alliance has had the effect of firming up its resolve, foreign ministry Secretary General, and former Estonian ambassador to the United States, Jonatan Vseviov says.

"Nobody wants to go down in history as someone who somehow accidentally allowed the European security architecture to collapse as a result of a political mistake," Vsevov told ETV politics show "Esimene stuudio" Wednesday evening.

In the interests of heading off such an undesirable outcome, all allied representatives spoke at a meeting Wednesday to discuss security proposals drawn up by Russia last month, with unanimity and a desire to remain on-message with Russia, so that Russia hears that message, Vseviov continued.

"Since there is no disagreement between allies, we are ready to defend ourselves, collective defense is moving forward and we are ready to respond to any possible escalation by Russia via very strong measures. There is hope now that this will be heard," he continued.

"The main factor that gives us confidence is our allied relationship, and the fact that we are sitting at the same tables where these decisions are made," he said.

As for Estonia, these inter-ally relations are key to security, while those NATO allies based in Estonia did not arrive simply for a vacation but to form an integral part of Estonia's common deterrence an defensive posture, with the same being the case in Latvia and Lithuania, Vseviov said.

"The statement that allied forces are stationed in Estonia is not anything new," he went on.

Any breach of Ukraine's border by any of the estimated 100,000 Russian Federation troops based on the Russian side of that country's border, would be met with a strong NATO response, Vseviov said, echoing earlier statements made by leaders in Estonia and other NATO states.

"Naturally, we very much hope that such a catastrophically bad choice will not be made anywhere, but those who have been involved in security policy, including here in Europe, have had to come to terms with the recognition for years now that whereas it could once be stated that the borders of our continent will not be changed by force by force, that time has passed."

"I don't think there are any countries in Europe who would live any longer under such a naive belief that the dangers have been pushed back to remote areas. I have no particular hesitations or doubts that if that road is taken, the western response will be very categorical."

Beyond that, Vseviov did not elucidate the nature of this categorical response, other than to say that it would be a new phase.

"Of course, if escalation were to take place, our response would be very different from the situation today. We are not intentionally saying what that would be, exactly, as when it comes to economic sanctions, there is no point in talking about them in too much detail before imposing a sanction, as then the sanctioned individual would otherwise take canny measures to circumvent that sanction," he continued.

"Naturally, all the plans we make are for a future scenario. Let 's say that what stands out is the tip of the iceberg," he added.

While NATO has been constantly working to strengthen the security of the allies, including the Baltic States, while the nuances might be different, no allied diplomat or government official is naive on the overall picture.

The Baltic States' piece of the jigsaw includes bringing to the table those nuances that may not be evident from any perspective other than the Baltic region.

Russia's constant testing of the alliance has failed, so far, he added, and in fact has had the opposite effect, in strengthening the alliance.

The NATO-Russia meeting was held on Wednesday to discuss security proposals, or rather, demands, presented by Russia last month, including that NATO roll back its presence on its eastern flank, which includes Estonia, and never take on Ukraine or Georgia as future members.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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