Kallas to Daily Telegraph: UK troops will show Putin 'can't win' in Estonia

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform).
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). Source: Jürgen Randma / Government Office

British Army soldiers contributing to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup in Estonia have become more and more familiar with the country's terrain and conditions, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says, to the extent that the message to Russian leader Vladimir Putin that any attempt to make an incursion would prove futile.

Kallas made her remarks in an article which appeared on British publication The Daily Telegraph's website and coinciding with the ongoing large-scale Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) exercise, which involves both NATO and Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) personnel.

The eFP Battlegroup has been boosted to brigade-size strength, from the previous roughly battalion or regiment-size, The Telegraph reports, amassing around 14,000 personnel exercising a "critical situation" scenario – while at the same time, troops in the U.K. itself are also at a high readiness level.

"It's not very hard to move troops," the prime minister put it to the daily, adding: "It means people understand that they are stationed in Yorkshire or Manchester but know that if the call comes, they are coming and know what is here. From what I hear from the military, it's getting better and better everyday."

Kallas also pointed out that she had been right, and the head of a key allied nation's intelligence service wrong, over the likelihood of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, when the pair spoke at a dinner at last year's Munich Security Conference, days before the invasion of February 24.

"For 50 years when we were occupied, it seems to me that the other side of the Iron Curtain did not know what was happening on our side," she added. "You only understand freedom when it is taken from you, but I don't think the way to learn this is to lose freedom, but maybe the way to learn is to listen to those who have lost it."

There is also naivete nowadays, too, the prime minister continued – the talk of Russian military depletion, casualty rates, plummeting morale was "making people sleepy", while at the same time, any kind of let-up either now or over the long-haul.

"For me, it is important that we are able to defend our country from the first minute. Therefore NATO's plans need to work in practice. I see that this could function. If our adversary also knows this, it takes down the will to attack us because you can't win here."

The original Daily Telegraph interview the prime minister gave to Danielle Sheridan is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Daily Telegraph

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