Estonian prime minister: Everything we were afraid of has come true

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform).
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). Source: Stenbock House

Everything Estonia knew from intelligence reports and was afraid of for Ukraine has come true, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told the BBC on Thursday, after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to reporter Lyse Doucet, Kallas was asked for her reaction to the events in Ukraine.

Kallas highlighted that today is Estonia's independence day and it would have usually been a happy day, except "we woke up to this terrible news".

"We had the intelligence information before so we were expecting it," she said adding ministers and cabinet members were alerted to make decisions early this morning.

"So everything we were afraid of, that we knew from the intelligence reports, actually has come true. This is so frightening that this can happen in 2022," Kallas said. 

Asked how far President Vladimir Putin will go in Ukraine, she said Putin was open about his plans and that he "intends to go far" but it "depends on how far we let him go".

Asked how Estonia can help Ukraine, Kallas replied: "We, in Estonia, are gonna help Ukraine with all the means that we can — political support, but also practical support, also defense weaponry that we can send to Ukraine and of course we must do everything on the EU and NATO Level so this aggression does not expand."

The prime minister said Estonia and NATO allies have already triggered Article 4, which will lead to discussions in the alliance. This will give the possibility to move forward with NATO's defense plans although she did not give more information about what this may entail.

Asked if she was worried that EU and NATO support did not stop Russia in Ukraine, which is a non-EU and non-NATO member, Kallas said: "So far we don't see any military effect at our borders. We are part of NATO, we are part of the EU, in NATO we have Article 5 which says an attack on one is an attack on all.

"I think it is a bit too big of a bite for Putin to take, even if he threatens. Of course, we have to prepare and to prepare for the aggression going on in Ukraine and for it going even further."

She said additional sanctions will be discussed at the EU council meeting tonight.

The interview can be watched here, starting at approximately 9.14 a.m.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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