Gallery: 'You can count on Germany,' says Steinmeier after meeting Kallas

On the second of a two-day working visit to Estonia, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) in Tallinn on Thursday, where the two leaders talked Ukraine support, European defense and Germany's growing role in ensuring security in the Baltic Sea region. Steinmeier later said that Germany and the Baltic states have grown closer.

Kallas stressed that other countries cannot tire in supporting Ukraine or underestimate Russia, who has the power, the means and the will to wage a prolonged war, according to a press release.

She noted that she had proposed that all EU member states jointly and promptly acquire 1 million 155 mm artillery shells for Ukraine, adding that the European defense industry must be ramped up to produce more, and faster.

"Industry needs orders, and our governments can place them," the Estonian prime minister stressed. "This proposal is important not just from the point of view of supporting Ukraine, but also in terms of boosting Europe's defense capabilities more broadly. We are living in a time where European countries must make more significant investments in their defense and ensure sufficient weaponry, ammunition and capabilities."

She also said that Ukrainian victory is needed to break the endless cycle of Russian aggression, adding that it is vital that Russia's crimes are tried in a court of law and that Russian regime leader Vladimir Putin and his "fellow criminals" are brought to justice.

At their meeting, the two leaders also discussed the effects of EU sanctions on Russian oil, as well as boosting renewable energy cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, including offshore wind energy.

Kallas thanked Steinmeier for Germany's contributions to the region's security as well.

"German forces based at Ämari have been safeguarding our skies as part of the Baltic Air Policing mission," she highlighted. "Germany has also been the framework nation for the NATO battlegroup in Lithuania since 2017. German presence in our region has become stronger and we value it highly."

"If you look at debates within Germany, you sometimes get the impression that the distance between Germany and the Baltic states has grown," Steinmeier said following his meeting with Kallas according to a tweet by his spokesperson. "My impression here in Estonia is: the opposite holds. You can count on Germany."

Steinmeier arrived in Estonia Wednesday, where he first met with German troops serving in the country before meeting with President Alar Karis at Kadriorg.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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