Estonian foreign minister to G7: Ukraine urgently requires air defense aid

Urmas Reinsalu taking part in the Anthony Blinken-led G7 foreign ministers' meeting, Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
Urmas Reinsalu taking part in the Anthony Blinken-led G7 foreign ministers' meeting, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) has stressed that in light of Russia's continued attacks on Ukraine's critical civilian infrastructure, work on reconstruction must continue, while Ukraine requires air defense aid as a matter of urgency, he added.

Reinsalu was speaking at a Group of Seven (G7) meeting of foreign ministers, set-up by United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Reinsalu said: "We must help the people of Ukraine cope in a situation in which Russia is deliberately attacking civilian sites, including residential buildings and hospitals, and energy infrastructure."

"With these attacks, which are depriving people of warmth and light during the darkest months of the year, Russia is trying to break the Ukrainian people's morale and fighting spirit," he went on, via a foreign ministry press release.

Reinsalu was speaking via video link at a meeting organized by Secretary of State Blinken, within the G7 format, and stressed that Ukraine urgently needed assistance in boosting its air defense capabilities to protect critical infrastructure and people, and to ensure Ukraine emerges triumphant from the current war.

"Ukraine's victory is the security guarantee of all of Europe," he said. "Today, I am repeating the call I made at the [European Commission] Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels yesterday: All western countries should increase their defense aid to Ukraine to 1 percent of their GDP," the minister went on.

Estonia already provides that proportion of military aid to Ukraine, while humanitarian and post-war reconstruction aid should also be ongoing, as Russia's war of aggression nears its first anniversary.

Estonia has so far donated a total of €23.1 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Reinsalu noted, from the state, local government, NGOs, the private sector and private citizens.

The recent months have naturally seen a focus on helping the people of Ukraine get through the winter, meaning winter clothing, food, generators and other season-specific aid has been key.

Estonia also has a specific region allocated to it in terms of post-war reconstruction, namely the Zhytomyr Oblast, where dozens of buses, kindergarten rebuilding projects and other aid have already been provided.

The G7 nations are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., joined by the EU as a non-enumerated member.

Other military aid being sent to Ukraine from the west includes over a dozen Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks being sent by the U.K., and now, potentially around 30 M1 Abrams tanks (U.S.) plus Leopard 2 tanks from Germany.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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