Top 12 most-read ERR News stories of 2022
To finally see out 2022, ERR News has put together a summary of the top twelve articles, in terms of reader hits.
Given the events of the year, it is no surprise that the list is dominated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, defense and security.
Only two other topics – the wreck of the MS Estonia and the soaring rate of inflation – prop up the top 12, in fact.
While such lists tend to be skewed more towards the first half of the year anyway, since articles published earlier have more time to amass clicks, Russia's invasion of Ukraine starting as it did in late February will have exacerbated this effect further.
Nonetheless, these are the top 12 articles that you, the reader, felt most worth clicking on, starting from the most-read on down, and with the original date of publication noted.
Estonia, allies to trigger NATO Article 4
Estonia joins Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, as well as other allied states, in calls to trigger NATO's Article 4.
"The most effective response to Russia's aggression is unity," the prime minister says, in the immediate aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which also starts on Estonian independence day.
Article 4 of the NATO treaty deals with consultations among allies and states that: "The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened."
Any member state can formally invoke Article 4.
Rapes in Ukraine prompt protest in front of Tallinn's Russian Embassy
Demonstrators outside the Russian embassy in Tallinn (pictured above) powerfully draw attention to the widespread reports of rapes of Ukrainian women, and even children, by invading Russian forces.
The protests had already been going on in front of the embassy, on Pikk tänav, for several days, as more news of atrocities committed in Bucha and other parts of Ukraine emerges.
The Russian embassy is not the only mission to become the focus of war-related demos.
Protesters also picket the German embassy, urging that country to take a harder line on Russia, and the Hungarian embassy, decrying Budapest for its continued purchasing of Russian natural gas.
Estonia's HIMARS to considerably hike the price of aggression for Russia
Estonia's decision to procure the now-famed M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) systems would render any attack by Russia on Estonia and other Baltic countries much costlier, the Ministry of Defense's secretary general, Kusti Salm, says.
While other systems would have been cheaper, HIMARS was chosen for it interoperability with other allies, the availability of ammunition, coordination with Latvia and Lithuania, who are also buying HIMARS, and U.S. aid in making the purchases, Salm goes on.
U.S.-donated HIMARS attacks by Ukrainian forces have hit Russian command areas and have wrought havoc on Russian ammunition depots in the war so far, and have been declared a high priority target by the Russian military, including by its "Kamikaze" drones. Nonetheless, no HIMARS system deployed in Ukraine had been reported as having been destroyed, as of November.
Sweden's foreign minister signs official NATO membership application
Sweden's application to join NATO is official, signed into being by Foreign Minister Ann Linde.
"It feels momentous, fateful, and that we have ended up doing what I believe is best for Sweden," Linde says.
Both Sweden and Finland apply to join the alliance after decades, or in Sweden's case, centuries, of neutrality, brought to a close by Russia's aggression in Ukraine.
Estonian-owned cargo ship sinks off Odesa after Russian action
An Estonian-owned cargo vessel, the Helt, sinks in the Black Sea, after striking a sea mine.
The ship had been hijacked by Russian naval forces as a type of human shield, ahead of an amphibious landing planned for Odesa.
Finland to grant Estonia permission to send howitzers to Ukraine
Another story from the very day Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, as Finland grants permission to Estonia to send aging, German-made howitzers to Ukrainian forces.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto says this can go ahead, provided it is also green-lighted by Germany – of which more below.
That Estonia needs to obtain permission at all is due to the requirements of international law. Estonia obtained the weaponry from Finland in 2009, but Estonia's northern neighbor had itself bought the howitzers from Germany.
The artillery pieces were made in the old East Germany, meaning that the Ukrainians would have weaponry to use against invading Russian forces which were made in the very Warsaw Pact system which Russia, as the dominant nation in the Soviet Union, oversaw.
Supermarket chains removing Russian-origin products from shelves
The war affects the selections in stores almost from day one, as supermarkets start removing food, drink and other products which are Russian-made.
ERR talks to Rimi, Coop and Maxima, who all say they are stripping their shelves of Russian products.
USA allows Estonia to buy six HIMARS missile systems
Following Estonia's request to purchase the near-legendary HIMARS systems, the U.S. agrees, permitting half-a-dozen launchers to be bought, along with ancillary systems and with a price-tag of up to US$500 million.
Washington notes that the procurement will also work in support of U.S. foreign and national security policy, will not have any adverse impacts on U.S. defensive preparedness, and will help a NATO ally.
Germany gives Estonia permission to send weapons to Ukraine — media
Also granting its permission to Estonia is Germany, which green-lights the sending of 122mm howitzers to Ukraine (see above).
This is reported in both Die Zeit and Deutsche Welle, and confirmed by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has confirmed the news.
Czech fighter jets break sound barrier pursuing aircraft off Estonian coast
A large, explosion-like noise leads to some disconcerted social media posts and approaches to the mainstream media, but turns out to be the sonic boom from two Czech JAS-39 fighter jets based at Šiauliai, in Lithuania, breaking the sound barrier.
The jets were responding to the presence an aircraft seen flying off the coast of northwestern Estonia.
Damage to MS Estonia hull more extensive than previously believed
Damage to the MS Estonia ferry, which sank in September 1994 with the loss of 852 lives, turns out to be far more extensive than initially thought, following an official investigation using tech not available in the years immediately after the disaster.
A rupture in the wreck's hull is nearly twice the length previously thought – at over 40m – and is around 6m in height, while oil continues to seep out of the Estonia also.
Estonia clocks fastest inflation in the Eurozone at 20.1 percent
A Eurostat flash estimate puts Estonia's inflation rate for the month at 20.1 percent, the highest in the Eurozone, whose average stands at 8.1 percent.
The jump, from 7.4 percent in April, is mostly driven by the soaring energy prices.
While this article is the most-read on the topic, 20 percent is not the peak of inflation for Estonia in 2022, as the rate reaches the 30-percent mark in late summer...
See also our full end of year review here.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte