Nordic, Baltic foreign ministers on joint 'solidarity visit' to Kyiv

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Urmas Reinsalu in Kyiv, Ukraine alongside foreign minster from Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland on November 28, 2022.
Urmas Reinsalu in Kyiv, Ukraine alongside foreign minster from Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland on November 28, 2022. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Eight foreign ministers from the Baltics and Nordics visited Kyiv on Monday to show "unwavering" support for Ukraine's "heroic and extraordinary fight for freedom for democracy".

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said the ministers assured Ukraine they will continue supporting the country "militarily, economically and politically."

They started their visit at the electricity transmission system operator UkrEnergo which is tasked with keeping the lights on after repeated Russian missile strikes.

"Russia is weaponizing civilian energy security and it is truly shameful," Reinsalu said in a statement.

"This winter will be very difficult for the people of Ukraine because Russia is systematically destroying civilian infrastructure, including power stations."

The minister said it is crucial to help Ukraine restore its infrastructure now to help people survive the winter. Estonia is sending generators, warm clothes and food. 

The visit by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland is the largest delegation to visit Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale war in February.

"Our message is clear, Ukraine has to win this war. This is a matter of all European security, freedom and the principles of humanity," Reinsalu said in a video filmed in the capital.

The ministers also met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Shmyhal said they discussed the tightening of sanctions, the reconstruction of energy infrastructure, financial support and support for Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations, joining NATO and the EU.

European countries should double defense spending

Reinsalu called on European countries to increase their defense spending, during an interview with Reuters news agency on Monday.

"We would like to see European countries doubling their defense expenditure in the time of the Ukrainian war and after the war, and we [Estonia] are going to spend 3 percent of our GDP on national defense," he said.

The European Union should also increase funding earmarked for Ukrainian military support, the minister said.

"The European Union combined has supported around 0.2 percent of its GDP to military assistance to Ukraine and I made a pledge if we could reach 1 percent it would make a grand difference on the ground in changing the course of the war," he said.

In an interview with Politico Europe, Reinsalu also called for more weapons to be sent to Ukraine, including "all the types of air defense systems" and "long-range missiles".

Update: This article was updated to add additional comments from Urmas Reinsalu about military spending.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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