Kallas: NATO members Estonia, Norway share Russia situation understanding
Ukraine needs the full support of NATO and, in the light of the Russian Federation military presence on its borders, Estonia and Norway are key member states in providing that support, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says.
Kallas made her remarks during a virtual meeting with her Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Støre on Wednesday, during the same week that NATO-Russia have been ongoing in the light of a recent Russian military buildup on its border with Ukraine.
Kallas said: "Ukraine needs our full support – both political and military – more than ever."
"This week is full of diplomatic communication and we will see whether Russia is ready to ease tensions. At the moment, it does not look like it," the prime minister went on, adding that Estonia and Norway, both NATO member states which border with the Russian Federation, must also be ready for Russia to escalate its stance towards Ukraine.
The current state of affairs is the net result of Russian violence and force, Kallas noted, with Russia occupying the Crimea, and that and fighting in eastern Ukraine being accompanied by other threats.
"It is clear that we will by no means give in to the demands of Russia to change the underlying principles of European security," Kallas stressed, according to a government office press release.
"NATO is not negotiating with Russia – it is a dialogue, and a prerequisite for any progress is an end to the military aggression and threats of Russia," she added.
Kallas also thanked Støre for his country's defensive cooperation.
"We highly value the defense cooperation with Norway and your presence in Baltic Air Policing and NATO battlegroups in our region," she said.
Norway has contributed personnel such as an armored infantry company to Lithuania's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, equivalent to the NATO eFP battlegroup based at Tapa, east of Tallinn.
"The strengthening of the east flank of NATO must continue at an accelerated pace," the prime minister continued. "We are working hard on this and are in close contact with all our allies, including the U.S.."
Russia has no say in which states can or cannot be NATO members, she added, recapitulating earlier comments on the issue.
The pair also talked about the energy crisis. Kallas rejected Norway's model in providing support amid soaring energy prices, on the grounds of their being based on full state or municipality ownership of producers.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte