Defense minister: UK contribution to planned division a priority
Estonia's defense will get a boost from the contribution from the United Kingdom and other allies in creating a combat-ready division, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.
Speaking after the Warsaw Security Forum Wednesday, the minister said: "An important priority for Estonia is the creation of a combat-ready division, composed of Estonia's own units, allied units stationed here and, above all, reinforcement units assigned to Estonia from the UK."
"Our desire is to implement these decisions as soon as possible," Pevkur, who had discussed the presence of UK units in Estonia and the rapid implementation of the NATO Madrid Summit decisions with his British counterpart Ben Wallace, continued.
Pevkur also noted the key role eastern flank NATO nations, including Estonia, play in defense and security, likening them to the front door of a house.
"The countries along NATO's eastern flank are like the front door of a house. If the front door is not locked, there will be no security inside. For this reason we need to speed up development of the new NATO regional defense plans," Pevkur continued, per a ministry press release.
Estonia itself is boosting its defense spending far beyond the minimum 2 percent of annual GDP that NATO sets as a membership requirement, the minister noted.
"Estonia is also making a significant contribution to strengthening its defense capability, contributing 2.8 per cent of GDP next year to national defense and more than 3 per cent the year after. This year alone, we have made additional investment decisions in excess of €1.2 billion," Pevkur added.
Pevkur took part in panel discussions while in Warsaw, on topics such as cyber defense and digital tech, as well as the continuing Russian aggression in and against Ukraine, noting the success Ukraine has had in implementing innovative solutions to, for instance, counter cyber attacks, and also in keeping society and public services still functioning despite the war.
The minister also met with his counterpart from Luxembourg, François Bausch, Japanese Vice Minister of Defense for International Affairs Masami Oka.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte