Estonian defense minister: If the Baltics fall, Berlin will be next

Hanno Pevkur.
Hanno Pevkur. Source: kpr Marcus Liinamäe, rms Rasmus Allik

If the Baltic countries fall, Berlin will be next, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) told German publication Merkur.

The magazine writes about the situation in Estonia and how the public and politicians see the threat from Russia and the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking about the new military equipment Estonia is buying, such as HIMARS, howitzers, armored vehicles and drones, Pevkur said this benefits Europe: "I'm sorry to have to say it like this, but if the Baltic states fall, Berlin will be next."

He also said the right conclusions need to be drawn from the war in Ukraine.

Explaining why defense spending will rise above 3 percent for the next few years, Pevkur said "We must do everything we can to prevent a Russian attack /.../ That's why we are relying on deterrence."

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). November 8, 2023. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Merkur writes that some people may think this stance is exaggerated, although it could turn out to be correct. However, it is acknowledged that Estonia is one of Ukraine's biggest supporters and has also accepted tens of thousands of refugees.

As well as Pevkur, the magazine spoke to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200).

"Of course, I would rather spend the money on other things," said Kallas, speaking about defense spending. "But in our situation, it's the most reasonable thing we can do."

There is also concern that Europe will get tired of helping Kyiv. "Russia hopes it can endure the pain much longer than we can," the prime minister said.

Tsahkna: Nothing good comes from the east

Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Merkur raised an often-asked question: Would NATO risk a conflict with Russia to save Estonia? It then said no one wants to test this theory, so deterrence needs to be strengthened and Kyiv needs more help.

"Ukraine is fighting for us. Literally," Tsahkna said. He said it is time to end Russia's aggression once and for all and push Russia back to its borders. 

"We have to take the opportunity to get rid of this aggressive regime," Tsahkna said, adding that he is not thinking about regime change. This is up to the Russians to decide for themselves.

"We are ready to fight," the minister said. "We have seen for centuries that nothing good comes from the East."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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