Whether you are a rescue worker, police officer or an ordinary citizen, everybody has a role to play during a crisis, Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani (Center) said after a meeting of the National Security Council on Friday.
On Friday the council discussed domestic security and protecting the population, Jaani said at a press conference after a meeting initiated by President Alar Karis.
The minister said the situation on Estonia's borders and domestically is currently calm but the internal security service is prepared nonetheless.
He said there have been situations on social media where the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) have had to intervene. "Provocations have been seen online, but the police have already eliminated them with intervention," he said.
The official reiterated that symbols of aggression, such as the black and orange St George's ribbon and "Z" symbol showing support for Russia's war in Ukraine, have been banned and public gatherings where they could be used have been forbidden until May 10.
He said officers have recently seen more symbols being used in public and have intervened on these occasions. Jaani said people are also active in reporting these incidents to the PPA.
"There have been 239 cases where the police have had to intervene and communicate with these people and explain why these symbols are not welcome in Estonia in any way," the minister said. He said memorials have also been damaged.
The interior minister said Estonia must develop its domestic defense capabilities to deal with conventional warfare threats. Until now, they have only focused on peacetime and mostly in relation to hybrid threats.
"Today, we see that we also need to develop the capabilities associated with classical conventional warfare," he said.
This means, that when purchasing equipment, both national and domestic defense must be taken into consideration, Jaani said. "This applies to rescue workers, the security police and also the PPA," he said.
The minister said during a crisis everyone has their own role, not only officials, police officers or rescue workers.
"The role of a person living on the external border is to be an extra pair of eyes for the PPA if they see something. Another example, the chairman of an apartment association has a role to play in thinking about how their association members would be protected in a crisis," he said.
Volunteers, of which there are 4,500 in domestic defense organizations, also have an important role, Jaani said.
Editor: Helen Wright