Kallas in Berlin: Scholz confirmed no Russia deals behind our backs

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Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Friday, where according to Kallas, Scholz confirmed that no deals regarding Europe's new security structure will be struck without involving Eastern European countries.

"Anything of the sort that we fear, such as arms control deals or deals with Russia that military exercises won't be conducted near NATO borders ⁠— no such deals will be made, as that would mean significantly weakening our defense," Kallas told ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Friday night. "That assurance was very important to me."

According to the prime minister, she and Scholz were also in agreement that Ukraine needs to be assisted as long as necessary so that it can defend itself ⁠— and that means sending Ukraine as many weapons and as much ammunition as possible and providing them with comprehensive support.

"Likewise Ukraine cannot be pressured into talks they are not ready to engage in, and still everything has to be on Ukraine's terms," she stressed.

At her meeting with Scholz, Kallas emphasized that their most important task is to help Ukraine win Russia's war against it, and that increasing military assistance is necessary to do so, according to a press release.

"I commend Germany's efforts in this regard," she said. "Germany has been one of the largest donors of military aid to Ukraine; that is aid that will save lives and will help bring Ukraine closer to victory."

The Estonian prime minister nonetheless called on countries to continue providing military aid to Ukraine, as well as assistance in repairing and maintaining critical infrastructure.

"We must be prepared for a long confrontation with Russia," she emphasized. "Talks about peace or a ceasefire today are very dangerous; they serve only Russia's interests. A pause on the battlefield gives Russia the opportunity to collect themselves and prepare for a new offensive."

'Russia's neighbors have important role to play'

Kallas also noted that Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine must unequivocally fail, which will also require continuing economic and political pressure.

"The EU's 9th sanctions package must be adopted quickly, and a quick solution must be found for the use of Russia's frozen assets in support of Ukraine," she said. "Holding war criminals accountable is critically important as well. We hope for Germany's strong support for the establishment of a special tribunal for the crime of aggression."

According to the Estonian head of government, European security will only be ensured if thus far unshakable fundamental principles — such as states' territorial integrity and sovereignty and the intolerance of aggression — continue to apply in the future.

"Given Germany's weight and importance in Europe, we naturally see Germany as a strong leader in ensuring lasting security in Europe," she said. "Discussions on European security architecture must be held together, and Russia's neighboring countries in the EU and NATO have an important role to play here."

Kallas also noted that Ukraine must be helped on its road to EU as well as NATO membership, on the basis of decisions adopted in Bucharest in 2008 and Madrid in 2022. "The full postwar integration of Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic region is essential for Ukraine's future and essential for ensuring peace and security in Europe," she stressed.

At their meeting, the two heads of government also discussed the security of the Baltic Sea region. Kallas thanked Germany for their dedication and concrete steps securing the defense of NATO's eastern flank, their presence in Lithuania as a NATO framework nation as well as for participating in the alliance's Baltic Air Policing mission; Germany is currently serving the rotation-based mission out of Ämari Air Base.

Estonia shares e-governance experience with Germany

Kallas joined Scholz and Achim Berg, president of German digital association Bitkom, in speaking at the Digital Summit 2022 in Berlin, where she presented on the experiences of Estonia's digital society and e-governance.

Kallas and Scholz also took part in a discussion at the Digital Policy Conference, focused on building a digital society and e-governance, where the Estonian leader emphasized that digital transformation contributes to the preservation and growth of democracy.

"In this digital age, people live their lives online," she said. "The state has to be where the people are and provide them with high-quality e-services; this is an important part of building trust between the state and citizens."

Kallas also pointed out that one of the key pillars of the sustainability of the digital state is cybersecurity.

"Alongside the conventional war, there is a cyberwar going on against Ukraine and other countries," she said. "Adversaries are always looking for weak spots to harm us, which is why it's extremely important to work on maintaining and increasing the security of cyberspace."

Estonia and Germany will cooperate in the digitalization of Germany's public sector, it was announced at Friday's conference. Estonia is the first country with which GovTech Campus Germany, the center for e-governance in Berlin, has decided to enter into a cooperation agreement.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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