Nothing has changed so far as the Putin regime's view of Ukraine despite Russian military setbacks in its invasion of that country, meaning continuing to raise the cost of war for Russia is crucial, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Jonatan Vseviov says.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin has not changed his goals in Ukraine and we must continue raising the cost of the war for Russia," Vseviov said Friday, adding that the EU has given an unprecedented response to Russia's war in Ukraine, though this has also raised the expectations of Estonia's partners.
"The EU has already increased and accelerated its defense and security efforts," the secretary general continued, via a ministry press release.
Vseviov made his remarks while on an official visit to Spain June 15-16, where European security, continued support for Ukraine and the common foreign and security policy of the EU were under discussion.
He thanked Spain for what he called its remarkable contribution to NATO's Baltic Air Policing and reinforcing the alliance's Eastern Flank. "At the meetings, we talked about options for even closer cooperation, including in providing comprehensive assistance to Ukraine," he added.
"I stressed that Ukraine's victory is the security guarantee for all of Europe," Vseviov went on. "Enduring peace is secured once the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine has been ensured and aggression as a political tool has been completely discredited."
The meetings also covered holding Russia legally accountable. "We must make sure that in addition to war crimes, the crime of aggression of Russia's leadership will not go unpunished. Putin must not be allowed to hide behind the immunity of a head of state," Vseviov continued.
"Our work is far from being done," Vseviov said. "We will continue raising the cost of the war for Russia for as long as needed."
The European Peace Facility, established in 2021 for conflict prevention, security and stability, is a good example of how quickly the EU can respond to global events, the permanent secretary said.
"We have given unprecedented assistance to Ukraine through the EPF, and to Moldova, and will continue to do so." The EU ammunition deliveries initiated by Estonia are also being delivered to Ukraine through the EPF.
Vseviov added that the meaning of defense and security has changed since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, while the EU must work on developing its defense industry and hybrid solutions in order to ensure security.
This includes the EU ensuring security in the cyber realm and working towards independence from third countries that could weaponize economic and energy dependence.
"For example, Russia is using the food security of the most vulnerable people and dependence on energy carriers as a weapon to pressure Ukraine and the West," Vseviov added.
On Friday, Vseviov attended the EEAS meeting of secretaries general of the EU in Zaragoza, where the upcoming Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU presented its common foreign and security policy priorities. Spain takes over the EU presidency from Sweden from the start of July.
While in Spain, Vseviov also met with the Political Director of the Ministry of Defence of Spain, Lieutenant General D. Fernando José Lopez del Pozo, the security adviser of the prime minister Miguel Ángel Ballesteros Martinini and historian and Director of the Elcano Institute think tank Charles Powell in Madrid, with topics covering security policy, the situation in Ukraine, and closer bilateral relations and cooperation between Estonia and Spain.
Editor: Andrew Whyte