Kaja Kallas: Estonia is and will remain protected
Estonia is and will remain protected, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Thursday night in a televised address to the nation, hours after the government called a snap annual military exercise. She spoke to reassure the public, saying "it is necessary to speak frankly about these issues" in times of crisis.
Dear people of Estonia!
I am addressing you because the last few days have brought news from the security front that has caused more anxiety in people. And I believe that in times of anxiety for the world, it is necessary to speak frankly about these issues.
Russia is organizing sham referendums aimed at annexing the territories they have occupied in Ukraine. That would give them the possibility to say that the war in Ukraine is also a war against Russia. Putin is threatening with a nuclear weapon and has declared a mobilization. The objective is to intimidate, and that is nothing new. There is currently no direct military threat against Estonia, and we must not be discouraged.
Today, the Government decided to call reservists and the members of the Defense League to an additional military exercise Okas 2022. We have done such exercises in the past and we will certainly continue to do so in the future. That is what defense capability means — readiness and confidence that, in the event of a crisis, we know exactly what to do. We have a capable defense force, willingness to defend and world-class equipment. We're organizing exercises to make sure it's never needed.
I would like to thank all the families whose mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter will contribute to strengthening our defensive capabilities over the next few days. And I thank all employers for their understanding.
The mobilization announced in Russia has not changed our understanding of the threat for us. Estonia is and will remain protected. We can all proceed with our daily activities peacefully knowing that Estonia is protected by our own defense forces and allies in NATO and partners in the European Union.
However, Russia wants to divide the societies of the free world. The Kremlin wants to put pressure on us with energy prices, cyber-attacks and propaganda, but together we can handle it. The best defense is that we don't let ourselves be influenced.
We must also be prepared that Russia might disconnect Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from their electricity grid. Although Estonia has been preparing for emergency desynchronization from the Russian electricity system for years, there may still be temporary problems with the supply of electricity. It would be wise to be prepared for possible power outages – that includes public authorities, companies, and every individual. I encourage you to think about how to deal with a power outage. The instructions are also available on the website Ole Valmis (be prepared).
The announcement of mobilization in Russia has raised many questions among the Estonian people. I assure everyone that the border between Estonia and Russia is protected. Estonia closed the border to Russian tourists already on September 19. It was the right decision at the right time. Estonia is home to our people, not for convenience refugees of an aggressor state.
There are also people of Russian nationality living in Estonia, whom Putin is likely to call to war. I believe that no one who lives in Estonia and shares our values has the willingness to join a criminal war in Ukraine. Everyone in Estonia knows the price and importance of democracy and freedom. We have a common future, a common security, and a common home, let's focus on that.
However, if there is anyone who is considering joining the Russian forces, my message is clear – do not go, because there is no turning back. Whoever raises a weapon against a free nation, against free Ukraine, raises a weapon against Estonia and commits a crime that we will not forgive.
With our Western allies, Estonia will support Ukraine completely and for as long as necessary.
Dear people of Estonia. Let us remain calm in difficult times and take care of each other.
Together, we can overcome all hardships.
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Editor: Helen Wright