Kallas: Freedom is our common and greatest value

Kaja Kallas on Victory Day 2023.
Kaja Kallas on Victory Day 2023. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Estonia's War of Independence is a genuine example of how success is based on unity and faith in a common goal, said Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) during her Victory Day speech. Ukrainians also need support in their fight for independence, she added.

Dear people of Estonia,

Victory in the Battle of Võnnu 104 years ago largely determined the fate of the War of Independence. However, the war was not won over days or weeks – a hard fight for freedom lasted for over 13 months.

Our own War of Independence is a genuine example of how success is based on unity and faith in a common goal. Before the turning point of the war in January 1919, the enemy had almost reached Tallinn. At the time, there was no certainty about what would happen next. But our ancestors kept their faith and hope – to free our country from the overwhelming adversary.

We won our freedom for the first time more than 100 years ago and again 32 years ago. Many of us, myself included, belong to a generation that remembers what it is like to live without freedom. The people of Estonia know that freedom is not self-evident – freedom must be fought for and it is worth fighting for.

The Ukrainian people are well aware of this – there are ruthless battles going on just 1,300 kilometers from Viljandi. The victims of Russian terror and war crimes are innocent people – children, women, men. Every day of this war is a stark reminder of the price of freedom.

It is up to us and the whole free and democratic world to help Ukraine win. Just like Estonians in the run-up to the counter-offensive that changed the course of the war in January 1919, the Ukrainians today need hope, faith and support in their fight for independence. We will stand with Ukraine as long as it is necessary. Ukraine must win, because it is a fight for freedom and justice.

Dear Estonian people,

In the midst of the general uncertainty in this world, Estonia is well protected today. We understand that national defense begins with ourselves and our willingness to stand up for our freedom.

It is a pleasure to note that the defense readiness in Estonian society is very high. I would like to thank everyone who contributes to Estonia's national defense and internal security – be it as a professional, reservist or volunteer; as a supportive family member or employer. All your contributions are invaluable.

Our own motivation and efforts to strengthen national defense send a clear signal to everyone – Estonia is a country that values freedom and is ready to defend without hesitation.

Dear people of Estonia!

Freedom is our common and greatest value. We can best preserve it by being united and putting the common goal – freedom and the protection of Estonia – above any differences. We have one Estonia. We take care of our country and we take care of each other.

I wish everyone a happy Victory Day and peaceful Midsummer!


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Editor: Helen Wright

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