President Karis in Canada: A defeated Russia should not be a concern

President Alar Karis taking part in the Halifax Security Forum panel discussion.
President Alar Karis taking part in the Halifax Security Forum panel discussion. Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia.

The West should not be wary of any major, negative effects on the Russian Federation in the event of its losing the war it has been waging on Ukraine, in its current phase, since February, President Alar Karis says.

The Estonian head of state is on an official visit to Canada over the weekend and into next week.

Appearing at the Halifax Security Forum in the Nova Scotia capital of the same name Canada, Karis said: "Firs of all, the starting point of strategy cannot related to the fear of any possible shocks that would hit Russia were it to lose the war.

"Second, NATO must implement a new defensive posture as soon as possible, one which requires a greater presence and advance deployment of weapons, equipment and ammunition. Third, Europe must not be left as some sort of gray zone;' the only real security guarantee is in fact the NATO alliance."

The president made his remarks at a panel discussion also featuring Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand (Liberal), President of the World Uyghur Congress Dolkun Isa and US Senator from New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen (D).

President Karis added that Ukraine's efforts to join NATO must be approached with all sincerity and seriousness.

"NATO cannot respond to them with silence or by withdrawing from previous statements or promises.

"Naturally, Ukraine's membership will not materialize in the short term and under conditions of conflict. However, if we want to ensure peace in the Euro-Atlantic region and stability for the future, we must all have a more distant goal and common interests in mind."

Meanwhile, the Russian regime wishes to up-end this, the president went on.

"President Putin has repeatedly accused the West in particular of unleashing the war in Ukraine and acts in the belief that we are also part of this war."

"This proves that Russia's strategic goals have not changed in any way. Putin continues to want to dismantle the current Euro-Atlantic security arrangement and restore his hegemony in the Baltic states and over Poland," the president continued.

As for Estonia, President Karis said a defense priority at present is establishing a divisional structure comprising both domestic and allied elements, while readiness, including evaluating which NATO units would be available in any potential conflict situation, is crucial, he said.

"Only in this way could we convince the Kremlin that any military attack by NATO direction is destined to be mired," he went on, noting that longer terms strategy also pertains to other hostile or potentially hostile, authoritarian states, as well as to Russia.

Hopes about Russia transforming into a full-blown democracy since the collapse of the Soviet Union had been met by the polar opposite, whereby imperialist ambitions which have in no way added to world security have been nurtured in that country, he said.

Canada and the US provide a priceless contribution to common security in the Euro-Atlantic, while Europe, too, should invest more in defense and improve military capabilities than has been the case up until now, he added.

Support for Ukraine in Estonia now totals a quarter of the country's defense budget, he added, a move which is made firmly with the conviction that Ukraine will emerge victorious from the war even as winter approaches, he went on.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., The Halifax Security Forum has traditionally focused on factors affecting transatlantic relations and this year also discusses other aspects of security, including energy and food security, tech, misinformation and economic and trade issues.

The Estonian head of state is opening the new Estonian Embassy building in Ottawa, and will meet with Canada's head of government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, various leaders from Canada, and the US, including senators, and representatives of the Estonian community abroad.

President Karis will return to Estonia Wednesday next week.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov

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