Kallas against Estonian volunteers fighting in Ukraine
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Thursday she did not recommend that Estonians volunteer to fight in Ukraine. People who fight for Belarus or Russia face five years in jail.
Speaking at the government's weekly press conference on Thursday, Kallas spoke about Estonians who want to fight on the side of the Ukrainians against Russia. Latvia and Denmark have recently given their citizens the go-ahead to do so.
However, she said Estonians are also needed to defend Estonia.
"I hope that first of all they still want to and can contribute to the defense of Estonia. We certainly do not give any recommendations to our people to go to war at the moment," she said.
Kallas highlighted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised people not to travel to Russia, Ukraine or Belarus.
"The Estonian state cannot help people in the case they get injured there, die or need help in any other way," she said.
The prime minister said the government has agreed to ban people from Estonia or Estonians from joining the Belarusian or Russian forces.
"This applies to all people staying in Estonia, but also to Estonian citizens abroad. Violation of this sanction is punishable by a fine or up to five years' imprisonment," said Kallas.
Additionally, the government could revoke a residence permit or even citizenship.
Speaking about NATO's presence in the region, Kallas said the alliance needs to respond quickly to the changing security situation and additional forces are still needed in the region.
The prime minister reaffirmed Estonia is safe and that senior officials from NATO, the US and UK confirmed they will protect "every inch" of the alliance.
"This is due to the changed security situation, we must be prepared for these threats. Our goal is a permanent and larger NATO military presence in Estonia," said Kallas.
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Editor: Helen Wright