NATO has taken significant steps in making the cost of Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine 'intolerably high', though a no-fly zone around the country is not on the table at present, foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) says.
Speaking at a meeting of NATO member states' foreign ministers on Friday, called by the alliance's secretary Jens Stoltenberg, to discuss the situation in Ukraine as it relates to NATO, Liimets said: "NATO is not part of this war, but together with allies and the EU, we have taken significant steps in making the cost of waging war in Ukraine intolerably high for Russia."
"We also all agree that our continued and even greater financial, military and humanitarian support to Ukraine is the only way to put a stop to Russia's aggression and to help the people suffering from it. Estonia has also given every help to Ukraine and continues to do so," the foreign minister went on, according to a ministry press release.
While Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which started on February 24, has transformed the entire security environment of Europe, poses no military threat to Estonia, Liimets.
The NATO foreign ministers unanimously condemned Russia's military aggression, attacks against the civilian population and called for Russia to immediately end all hostilities.
They also confirmed that the allies will stand by their values and are ready to give more support to like-minded partners.
A no-fly zone will not be put in place over Ukrainian territory, the NATO ministers agreed at the Brussels meeting, ERR reports.
While NATO has more than 200 ships and 130 fighter jets on alert, these will not be used to create a no-fly zone, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said.
Liimets said the issue may be returned to if the allies' current measures do not work out.
She said: "NATO does not want to go to war with Russia, and therefore a solution in which NATO would provide air defense is not currently on the table. However, of course, it must be borne in mind that this war is ongoing and evolving , if our other decisions and solutions do not help."
Good to meet @NATO&colleagues in #Brussels at this critical time for our security. We continue to closely coordinate response to Russia's invasion of Our unity & support to is unwavering. Grateful to Allies for increased presence in Eastern part of Alliance. #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/13qoamOk50— Eva-Maria Liimets (@eliimets) March 4, 2022
U.K. defense minister Ben Wallace said during a visit to Estonia earlier this week that a no-fly zone over Ukraine was not on the table at present, partly due to the scale of the conflict and the fact that the Russian Federation is a nuclear power.
Russia is also a permanent member of the UN Security council.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also addressed Friday's meeting, via video link.
Representatives from non-NATO members Finland and Sweden, as well as the EU were also present.
Foreign Minister Liimets also stressed at the meeting the need to continue strengthening defense, deterrence, and NATO's eastern flank. She also thanked those allies who have already sent additional forces to Estonia.
Editor: Andrew Whyte