Estonian president in Ukraine: More military aid urgently required

From left, President Gitanas Nauseda (Lithuania), President Andrzej Duda (Poland), President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President Egils Levits (Latvia) and President of Estonia Alar Karis, in Kyiv on April 13 2022.
From left, President Gitanas Nauseda (Lithuania), President Andrzej Duda (Poland), President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President Egils Levits (Latvia) and President of Estonia Alar Karis, in Kyiv on April 13 2022. Source: Social Media/President's Office

Military assistance to Ukraine of the kind Estonia has already been providing must be stepped-up in the light of Russia's continuing aggression towards that country, President Alar Karis says, while economic sanctions on Russia must simultaneously be increased.

President Karis, who was in Kyiv Wednesday together with the Latvia, Lithuanian and Polish heads of state, meeting with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, stressed that Ukraine needs help from all quarters, now more than ever, with urgent military aid most important.

Speaking at a joint press conference, he said: "President Putin decided to start the war...The way to peace now is only possible via progress on the battlefield,"

The president noted aid provided by Estonia so far and since the conflict began.

"Estonia has already provided military assistance to Ukraine to the tune of one third of our annual defense budget," he said.

"In addition, we are vocal supporters of imposing clear, precise and effective economic sanctions on many western and like-minded western countries. Russia is the only culprit in this war, and the sanctions imposed so far and those to come must help stop the aggressor," President Karis added.

The Estonian head of state also took the opportunity to highlight his country's horror and pain over the Russian aggression and admiration of the people of Ukraine in resisting the onslaught, entering its eighth week on Thursday.

He said: "The people of Ukraine have shown admirable courage and courage in resisting the atrocities of the Russian army. Ukraine is a country that wants to be free, it has the right to be free and it has a place in the European family."

"I am speaking on behalf of the people of Estonia when I say that we are deeply horrified by the crimes that the aggressor has committed and is continuing to carry out against the people of Ukraine. We share the pain of the people of Ukraine, a pain which is shattering their souls and hearts."

"Only Russia's defeat in the conflict will bring peace back to Europe. Because European security is inextricably linked to Ukraine. Western countries need to do more to help Ukraine, which has fallen victim to Russian aggression. It must do so quickly. Russian troops must be repelled everywhere, as has already been done in Kyiv. Ukraine needs heavy weapons to increase its combat capability on land, in the air and at sea," the president went on.

President Karis had arrived with Latvian President Egils Levits, head of state of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauseda, and Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, earlier on the Wednesday (see video below).

The Baltic and Polish presidents also visited the city of Borodianka, near the capital, which has been essentially razed to the ground by the Russian military in an offensive accompanied by mass crimes against humanity.

"I feel deeply the horror of crimes the Russian army has committed against the people of Ukraine. Killing and torture, the use of illegal weapons, brutal war crimes will not go unpunished," the president wrote on his social media page.

President Karis confirmed that Estonia is fully prepared to send its experts to Ukraine's prosecutor's office and to the Hague, in support of investigations into Russia's war crimes.

Wednesday's meeting and press conference also covered the need for further and immediate sanctions against Vladimir Putin's Russia, including on energy providers, particularly oil firms, while at the same time opening up maritime trade routes to Ukraine, via the Black Sea, to let in essential supplies such as grain.

The full press-conference video with all five presidents and with simultaneous translation into English, is below.

The President of Estonia is due back home today, Thursday.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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