Officials: Major foreign interest in Estonia hasn't waned

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' New Year's Day interview with ETV.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' New Year's Day interview with ETV. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

Last February, Estonia garnered significant attention abroad with its robust communication, and according to state spokespeople, this interest has not waned over the past year. Members of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) are increasingly being consulted to characterize the threat posed by Russia as well.

Estonia's loud international voice is an increasingly important part of security. This is how Estonia convinces its allies to further support Ukraine as well as increase their presence here. For foreign countries to be interested in Estonia, however, it needs robust steps and messages ⁠— not tepid talking points, Media Adviser to the Government Helen Rits told ERR.

"On a typical, quieter day, there are three or four inquiries," Rits said. "If the prime minister specifically has said something more important, or Estonia has done something more important, then 20-30 inquiries is indeed perfectly normal."

There has been a growing interest in EDF members as well. Capt. Taavi Laasik, a public affairs officer at the Headquarters of the EDF, said that the amount of foreign media coverage they have received has increased by some half.

"The EDF Military Intelligence Center's weekly overviews of the situation in Ukraine have naturally drummed up some kind of interest," Laasik said.

Which is how, in addition to Commander of the EDF Gen. Martin Herem, Col. Margo Grosberg, chief of the Military Intelligence Center, has come to frequently be the face of the EDF in foreign media as well.

Often cited are Estonian military warnings that while Russia is sustaining losses in Ukraine, their abilities nonetheless shouldn't be underestimated. But other things are asked about as well.

"Latvian Television (LTV) came here toward the end of last year and did a fairly long and comprehensive overview of what Estonia's conscription and reserve system are like," Laasik said. "As they're starting to develop their own, then this was an example for them."

Some of the queries are more technical in nature as well, such as about weapons and their use.

"There was interest from Japan in [the EDF's] use of K9 howitzers, for example," he noted.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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