President Karis: NATO flank urgently needs strengthening

President Alar Karis at a recent benefit concert for Ukraine.
President Alar Karis at a recent benefit concert for Ukraine. Source: Patrik Tamm / ERR

While Russian president Vladimir Putin has, in a sense, already lost the war in Ukraine given that only four countries supported a recent vote at the UN General Assembly, Ukraine, and the rest of Europe and NATO, urgently need much more than that, given the imperialistic ambitions of the Russian leader, Estonian President Alar Karis wrote in an opinion piece for UK daily The Financial Times (FT).

Refusing to accept the situation as it is, with Russian troops in Ukraine, in violation of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations between NATO and Russia, signed in May 1997, is essential, while being prepared even for the major changes that ceasing to support Russia's economy by buying its oil and gas would entail is also a reality, the head of state writes in the piece, which appeared on the FT's website Monday.

Russia, even more isolated internationally than the Soviet Union was, is seeking to return to the cold war and to resurrect the Iron Curtain even as many of NATO's new member states – including Estonia – were once behind that curtain, the president added.

While western governments often did not take Estonia's warnings, and those of other countries in the region, seriously enough, the British-led ground forces battlegroup at Tapa and the NATO air policing mission at Ämari, and their equivalents in other countries on NATO's eastern flank, can lay the bedrock for a strengthened and permanent allied presence and a: "New deterrence posture that makes the red line for Moscow even thicker," the president wrote.

"A permanent allied presence would underline the fact that the Baltic states, and Poland, are just as equal as Germany, Italy or the U.K. – and that a forceful military response begins from the very first centimeter of the alliance's territory," President Karis continued.

The entire opinion piece by President Karis for the FT is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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