NATO must stay focused on Russia and the country remains the greatest and most direct threat to the alliance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said at a summit in Bucharest on Wednesday. He also urged members not to rely on "authoritarian countries".
Speaking on the second day of the NATO foreign ministers, Reinsalu underlined that Russia remained the greatest and most direct threat to NATO.
"We must move forward with implementing the decisions of the Madrid summit," Reinsalu said, adding that in addition to Russia.
Earlier this week, Politico Europe reported that the USA believes China should be NATO's main focus.
Reinsalu said the Alliance's focus should remain on reinforcing its defense and deterrence posture, raising the cost of the war for Russia and supporting Ukraine.
Russia's war in Ukraine has also highlighted the West's dependence on Russian gas.
"We must learn from our mistakes and reduce our dependence on authoritarian countries, including China," Reinsalu said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that "independence from the energy carriers of authoritarian countries and sustainability are reasons why Estonia does not support the proposed price cap on Russian oil because it does not fulfill its purpose".
"Every extra dollar we pay to Russia for gas supports the war in Ukraine and Putin's regime," Reinsalu said.
The Alliance must be ready to face various threats, including terrorism, he added.
Countries that meet criteria can join NATO
Asked by a reporter after the meeting about Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova's accession to NATO, the minister said there is "no stronger proponent" than Estonia of the alliances' open door policy.
"Russia should not, after the war, have a chance to dictate security options and a way of life to its neighbors," he said.
"These countries who fulfill the objective criteria will be members of the NATO family."
Reinsalu said all countries should block Russian citizens from entering their territories.
Asked about Belarus' role in the war, the minister said the worst sanction that could be enacted against Russia "would be the fall of the Lukashenko dictatorship".
On my way to #Bucharest #ForMin meeting i said that Russia must not dictate security options & way of life of its neighbours.— Urmas Reinsalu (@UrmasReinsalu) November 30, 2022
I also expressed my support for #NATO open door policy for all European democracies.#StorngerTogether
Editor: Helen Wright