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Defense minister: Ukraine victory will bolster security for us all

Northern Group meeting of defense ministers in Poland, Monday, May 22, 2023.
Northern Group meeting of defense ministers in Poland, Monday, May 22, 2023. Source: Maciej Nędzyński / Polish Defense Ministry

Consistent and vigorous support for Ukraine is vital, since not only does Ukrainian victory spell strengthened security for the wider region, but also the Russian Federation would be capable of restoring its pre-war status within a few years, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.

Pevkur made his remarks while at a Northern Group meeting of defense ministers in Legionowo, Poland, Monday, saying: "The Russian Federation openly calls into question the legitimacy and territorial integrity of the Baltic States and consistently tries to divide our societies by means of hybrid warfare."

"Russia continues to occupy 1 percent of Ukraine's territory, or 110,000 square kilometers. Western military assistance to Ukraine must continue, and we are capable of providing that assistance," Pevkur went on, via a ministry press release.

At the same time, the EU has, Pekur added, spent 34 times more on alleviating the energy crisis, than it has on support for a Ukrainian victory, while the figure for EU spending on post-pandemic recovery measures is even higher, at 44 times.

Monday's Norther Group meeting focused on the security threats in north-eastern Europe and positions for the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.

The defense ministers agreed that the main objective of that summit should be to increase the security of the region, through further strengthening deterrence and defense.

This would include setting as mandatory the goal for defense spend by all NATO member states at 2.5 percent of GDP, by 2030.

The Northern Group is a defense cooperation format that brings together 12 Baltic and North Sea countries – the Netherlands, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Denmark, and the U.K., in addition to Estonia.

The group focuses on the regional security situation in Northern Europe and in the Arctic. The format was established in 2010, under the U.K.'s leadership.

Poland chairs the group for the first half of this year, with Sweden to take over in the second half of the year.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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