Samost ja Aaspõllu: Kallas has steered successful course in crisis so far

Kaja Kallas at a recent G7 meeting.
Kaja Kallas at a recent G7 meeting. Source: Stenbock House

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has pursued a successful foreign policy course amid the current security crisis facing Ukraine, senior ERR journalists Anvar Samost and Huko Aaspõllu find.

On the other hand, defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) has been irresponsible in stating that if Ukraine falls before Russia's objectives, the three Baltic States will be next, Samost argued.

Speaking on the eponymous "Samost ja Aaspõllu" radio show Sunday afternoon, Samost said that: "Estonia has not put a foot wrong here. It was to be expected that Estonia would pursue a good security policy within the framework that the country has. Despite the fact that we do not currently have a particularly prominent foreign minister or defense minister, Estonia has done everything right."

Aaspõllu agreed, noting that much of the work was that of Kallas as prime minister.

He said: "The prime minister has been active in the current situation; she can speak good English, her thoughts are by no means flawed - this all very great. But in the long run, would we like to be quieter [on these issues]? I don't have a satisfactory answer to that."

A country of Estonia's size has no choice in the matter as to whether to be in the bigger picture or not, Samost argued.

He said: "It's always better to remain in the picture, especially in difficult crises situations. The question is what kind of messages we'll hav there. But I think we've been in the picture up until now," referencing a recent and widely-disseminated interview Kallas did with U.K. daily the Financial Times, in the course of which Kallas took her interviewer, Richard Milne, to the memorial of the victims of communism in Tallinn.

Aaspõllu agreed that the head of government had contextualized the interview well, adding that a separate issue is just to what extent Estonia wants to get into the international discussion on Russia, any potential conflict and the 'Baltic States will be next' narrative – the latter a take which, Samost pointed out, defense minister Kalle Laanet has indeed used (link in Estonian) – and which, Samost said, was a mistake.

"We should definitely not go saying that Estonia or the Baltic States are next. Our Minister of Defense, Kalle Laanet has just made such a statement. I hope he understands that it is not sensible," Samost said.

"Second, in all likelihood it is probably not very true either. If someone else in the media is telegraphing that Ukraine will be followed by the Baltic States, this is already a bad thing. But if our own defense minister comes and says the same, this is a route we really don't want to go down," Samost added.

The prime minister attended the annual Munich Security Conference late last week, meeting with U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris and expressing gratitude for the U.S.' relationship with Estonia as an equal ally.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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