Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) met bilaterally with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday. On the agenda was the security situation and efforts to strengthen it on the alliance's eastern flank.
Regardless of the next steps that Russia takes against Ukraine, the security situation in Europe has changed significantly, Stoltenberg said according to a Ministry of Defense press release. Russia has tried to use military force to coax Ukraine into changing its international course and NATO into changing the defense of allies.
During their meeting, Laanet and Stoltenberg both also expressed agreement that NATO should increase common funding to meet collective defense needs.
"In order to meet collective defense needs, Estonia has extraordinarily increased its defense spending, directing an additional €340 million to fill the most important gaps," Laanet said. "In 2022, Estonia's contribution will surpass 2.33 percent. We consider strengthening NATO's eastern flank and the increased presence of allies on the eastern flank to be of utmost importance. We are grateful to the U.K. for their decision to double their presence in Estonia."
U.K. has decided to strengthen allied presence by doubling its own presence in Estonia, an increase slated to be carried out in the immediate future.
The long-term adaptation of NATO's deterrence and defense posture must take into account the challenges presented by a fundamentally changed security situation, the ministry press release noted.
Editor: Aili Vahtla