Alar Karis to Slovak counterpart: Ukraine victory in both our interests

President Alar Karis with his Slovak opposite number, President Zuzana Čaputová.
President Alar Karis with his Slovak opposite number, President Zuzana Čaputová. Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia

Lasting stability, peace and security in Europe can only be achieved by expunging "gray zones" and acting decisively at the political level, in order to pave the way for both NATO and European Union expansion, President Alar Karis says.

A precursor to this is Ukraine emerging victorious in the current conflict, sparked by Russia's full-scale invasion, now in its second year.

On an official visit to Slovakia and a meeting with his Slovak counter part President Zuzana Čaputová on Tuesday, President Karis said: "Lasting security can only be achieved by eliminating the gray zones in Europe, for which political decisiveness is required for the expansion of both the EU and NATO."

The visit, which took place in the Slovak city of Košice, also marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On Ukraine, which Slovakia shares a border with, Karis said: "It is in our collective interest to ensure that Ukraine wins the war and that the world returns to operating in accordance with rules and norms."

"We can only speak of peace once all Russian forces have withdrawn from Ukraine, once all crimes of aggression and those who committed them have been brought to justice and once Russia has paid for the damage it has inflicted," the Estonian president continued, via a press release.

Ways of rebuilding Ukraine were also on the table, as was all possible aid to that country – one example being Estonia's continued material support for the city of Zhytomyr, and the fact Estonia's aid to Ukraine amounts to 1 percent of the country's annual GDP.

"We will do everything we can to help Ukraine defend itself against the aggressor," President Karis continued, adding that: "Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people as we bear horrified witness to Russia's aggression against them."

Slovakia has supplied Ukraine with fighter jets, anti-aircraft systems and other weaponry and extended temporary protection to more than 112,000 refugees from Ukraine, President Karis noted.

For small countries which find themselves in a complex geopolitical environment, a prerequisite for increased development and investment is robust democracy at national level, regional stability and international, rules-based order, President Karis went on.

Defensive cooperation between Estonia and Slovakia was demonstration of this fact, President Karis went on, expressing gratitude for Slovakia's regional defensive contribution.

Both countries are NATO member states, and, President Karis noted, share the same views on all key issues

Of other bilateral cooperation, the president noted that while there is room for more development, two of Estonia's half-dozen or so unicorn firms, mobility app Bolt and secure payments solutions firm Wise have entered the Slovak market.

Košice, scene of Tuesday's official visit, is Slovakia's leading digital innovation center and, since the beginning of Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine, the main reception center for war refugees and is a humanitarian hub.

The Estonian head of state is to return home on Wednesday evening.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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