Estonian PM: We need to be prepared that the worst is still to come

Kaja Kallas.
Kaja Kallas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Allied unity will help "tame the aggressor" but "we need to be prepared that the worst is still to come," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.

Blinken, who is on a one-day visit to Tallinn amid a two-day tour of the Baltic states, arrived in Estonia on Tuesday morning.

At a press conference, Kallas called for more action from the west and said "new tools" are needed until "Putin's war machine has been paralyzed".

This should include strengthening the SWIFT ban for Russia and Belarus, restricting the use of cryptocurrencies and closing seaport access to Russian vessels, she said.

"We should stop the military machine of the aggressor – the democratic world has stepped up against this war with speed, strength and determination. Our unity and action will help tame the aggressor. But we need to be prepared that the worst is still to come," the prime minister said, adding: "We are in this for the long haul."

"Russia expects us to take a step back soon. [...] So we will prove them wrong," she said. 

Kallas said the "new reality demands rapid changes" to Estonian, European and NATO defense and this means "permanently strengthening our defense on land, in air and at sea". 

She called on countries to raise defense spending, saying Estonia's will be 2.44 percent of GDP in 2023.

Blinken reiterated NATO is prepared to defend "every inch" of its territory with the collective defense: "Our commitment to Article 5 is ironclad, an attack on one is an attack on all." 

The secretary of state said the U.S. is working with the Baltics on cyber and energy security and has already sent jets to the region to bolster NATO's air policing mission. "We hope for the best but we prepare for the worst," Blinken said.

He called for humanitarian corridors, said the price of Russia's war must be raised and reiterated support for Ukraine.

The official also spoke about Baltic solidarity and their relations with Ukraine: "As I also said to the people of Latvia and Lithuania, the people of Estonia, who lived through decades of Soviet occupation, understand in a profound way how wrong Russia's unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine is. How the world has to defend Ukraine's right as a sovereign democratic country, free to choose its own future."

Watch the press release below:


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Editor: Helen Wright

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