Responses to Russia's escalation through mobilization, nuclear threats and fraudulent referenda to annex Ukraine's occupied territory must be united and severe and aimed at ensuring victory for Ukraine and regional security in Estonia, Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry Jonatan Vseviov says
Speaking after a meeting in Tallinn Wednesday with his Icelandic counterpart, Martin Eyjólfsson, Vseviov, a former Estonian ambassador to the US, said: "Iceland has strongly condemned Russia's aggression, committed to supporting Ukraine and joined the sanctions imposed by EU states to pressure Russia into ending the war.
"Today, we discussed further steps for reinforcing the region's security, where the implementation of the decisions of NATO's Madrid summit and achieving energy independence have a key role," the secretary general continued, via a foreign ministry press release.
"We must impose new strong sanctions against Russia, continue isolating the aggressor state internationally and make sure that all organizers of war crimes committed in Ukraine, including the leadership of Russia, are held to account," he went on.
On the topic of bilateral cooperation, both secretaries general also covered digital affairs and cybersecurity, while Vseviov welcomed Iceland's joining the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE).
Secretary General Eyjólfsson for his part said Iceland and Estonia have accomplished many things during their long-standing and fruitful relations.
He said: "History repeatedly demonstrates how small states can have a strong voice and influence on the global level. Our foreign ministers recently reaffirmed in a joint declaration that we stand together in meeting today's grave security threats and challenges. We share a strong focus on common values, and we must continue to work together to protect them."
Comprehensive military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, to help it win the current war with Russia, is essential, Vseviov went on, and efforts towards cooperation in reconstruction efforts in Ukraine, where Estonia is focused on rebuilding the Zhytomyr Oblast, were also on the table.
The pair took part in a panel discussion on the global impact of small states in a complicated period in international affairs, while Vseviov opened a permanent exhibition at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dedicated to the relations of Estonia and Iceland, the latter honored by the fact that the Estonian Foreign Affairs ministry's address is called Iceland Square, in recognition of Iceland being the first sovereign nation to recognize Estonian independence.
Vseviov said: "Thirty-one years ago, Iceland was the first bold country to recognize the right to exist of the Estonian people and state, and we will never forget this show of support. The fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located at Islandi väljak (Iceland Square) serves as a symbol of that. I am very glad that the permanent exhibition opened today allows us to tell our visitors from near and far about this piece of history that is so important to us."
Progress in reinforcing NATO's Eastern Flank, which includes Estonia, the accession process of Finland and Sweden, and the continuation of strong relations between the two countries were also on the table.
A NATO member, Iceland regularly contributes a press representative to the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup, based at Tapa and headquartered in Tallinn.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs