Estonian PM: NATO must make long-term, major investments in defense

NATO flag.
NATO flag. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonia's National Defense Council met on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Russia and to review Estonia's preparations and objectives for the NATO Summit in Vilnius in mid-July.

Prime Minister Kallas (Reform) said Estonia has five main objectives for the NATO summit in Vilnius.

"Russia is and will remain a threat. It is our task to explain this to our allies and to make them aware of the need for long-term and major investments in defense. Russian aggression must be deterred and we will continue contributing to deterrence also by providing strong support for Ukraine. Estonia's goal in Vilnius is to agree on a concrete roadmap for Ukraine's NATO membership," she said.

While Estonia's defense spending will rise to 3 percent of GDP in the coming years, it is a summit goal to get other Allies to commit to hitting the 2 percent pledge agreed upon a decade ago and 2.5 percent in the long run.

"We will continue strengthening our own defenses and we can set an example for our allies," said Kallas.

"Russia is an unpredictable and long-term threat. NATO has moved to a reinforced defense position and we need to make this clear at the Vilnius summit. We need to confirm the defense plans of NATO and allied forces need to secure every centimeter of territory, right from the start of a potential conflict. Collective defense also needs to be practiced regularly and realistically," the prime minister said.

Estonia is also working to ensure Sweden's accession to NATO is approved before the summit of next month and that the country can participate as a full member.

The National Defense Council also discussed this weekend's events in Russia.

The government and the security authorities are closely monitoring the situation and are in close communication with allies and partners.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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