Minister welcomes boosted defense capabilities on Swedish island of Gotland
Defense ministers from Baltic Sea region countries share the common opinion that regardless of the outcome of the war in Ukraine, Russia is and will remain the biggest threat to the entire Baltic Sea region and NATO, Estonia's Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.
Speaking at a meeting of defense ministers of the Nordic and Baltic countries (pictured) held Friday on the Swedish island of Gotland, seen as a key strategic location, Pevkur said: "With the accession of Finland and Sweden [to NATO], the security of our region will change by leaps and bounds, as the Baltic Sea will essentially become a NATO internal lake, meaning the exchange of information about what is happening at sea and in the air will improve significantly," noting the need to establish practical steps based on that intel.
"Estonia has also made important decisions in recent years to strengthen its maritime domain - both the merger of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) and Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) fleets, as well as the procurement of Blue Spear anti-ship missile systems and sea mines, will already
"We will help Ukraine as long as needed and as much is needed! And for the baltic sea region security our cooperation will be on the highest possible level" - today in Gotland at Nordic-Baltic defence ministers meeting. pic.twitter.com/VGCP8MWeS1— Hanno Pevkur (@HPevkur) September 2, 2022
Due to its location, right in the middle of the Baltic, between the coast of the Swedish mainland and the coasts of Latvia and Estonia, Gotland, known in Estonian as Ojamaa, plays an key role in keeping the air and sea routes of the region open, Pevkur welcomed Sweden's decision to bolster defenses there, even ahead of the announcement that the country, along with Finland, would be joining NATO, ending around two centuries of nominal neutrality.
The accession of the two countries to NATO, as well as an overview of Sweden's building up of Gotland's defense and the creation of new military units to that end, were also discussed at Friday's meeting, the defense ministry says.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Ministry of Defense