Prime minister: Defense of Estonia begins with Ukraine

Estonia's prime minister, Kaja Kallas (Reform).
Estonia's prime minister, Kaja Kallas (Reform). Source: Erlend Štaub

Estonia's first line of defense begins with Ukraine, making support for it, and western unity, vital, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says.

Appearing on ETV politics head-to-head show "Esimene stuudio" Thursday evening, the prime minister said that: "Estonia's defense now starts with Ukraine."

"Ukraine is now literally at war with our enemy. For as long as Russia is busy fighting Ukraine, it cannot fight us simultaneously. It is perfectly clear that Ukraine is fighting on our behalf, while everything we give to Ukraine, actually goes to the defense of Estonia."

Kallas said, in the aftermath of Tuesday's missile strike on Polish, and therefore NATO, territory, that the bigger picture must be kept in view.

She said: "The day before yesterday, large-scale missile attacks on civilian infrastructure [in Ukraine] took place. Russia is targeting energy infrastructures to make Ukraine face the winter in the dark and cold. We know that its purpose is to break Ukraine's resistance, as well as that of the West, by creating a further influx of refugees and fomenting a climate of fear so that we end up saying 'stop, let's not help Ukraine any more.'"

One bright spot is that western unity has remained intact, while no one has forgotten the incident's background, ie. Russia's large-scale aggression in Ukraine.

Kallas added that given that there are NATO states bordering Ukraine (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania), it was inevitable that the effects of Russia's war will occasionally have an impact in border areas of those countries, as happened on Tuesday.

As to support for Ukraine, Kallas told "Esimene stuudio" interviewer Mirko Ojakivi that disparaging those NATO and other allies whose procedures in providing military or humanitarian take longer than, for instance, Estonia's, is pointless.

"The most important thing is that they finally get there and really give what they can. Naturally, we would like to see them give more," the prime minister went on.

Aid that has been sent or provided, including weaponry and military training, and the unity of the allies, is "something to be proud of," Kallas added.

"I believe that unity — and here I hope that will never be needed - will endure, even if one member state is really intentionally attacked," she said.

Beyond that, there was no point speculating on what the next steps would have been had Tuesday's missile strike been proven to have been a deliberate attack on the part of Russia; in comparison with earlier stages, NATO member states and NATO-aligned states have taken on the same understanding of the situation that Estonia did in 2014, when the Russian Federation annexed the Crimea, and began to prosecute an insurgency war in the easternmost part of Ukraine, Kallas added.

Of other topics touched on on Thursday's edition of "Esimene stuudio", Kallas said that there was sufficient capacity in Finland's LNG terminal to go round, meaning Estonia does not need preferential access to it for the winter.

She also stated that the next prime minister, following the March 2023 general election, will come from the ranks either of her party or of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

As for Center, statements they have made to the effect that they would enter office with EKRE again, as had been the case 2019-2021, was: "Good, since it was such a mess the last time round," the prime minister said.

According to Kallas, the Reform Party does not have any agreement to oppose EKRE, the parties simply have opposing positions to such an extent that it is natural for them to face each other in the elections.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

Source: Esimene stuudio

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