As Russia's war of aggression on and in Ukraine nears the end of its second year, it is time to reflect on all those who have remained steadfast in support of Ukraine and Ukrainians, both from Estonia and beyond, Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) says.
The minister said Tuesday that: "This year, as Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine rages on for the second year, we are remembering and thanking all colleagues who, in their daily work, contribute to ensuring Ukraine's victory in Russia's bloody war of aggression, thereby helping to preserve values that Estonia cherishes."
"All of our work is driven by upholding the freedom of Estonia," he went on.
Minister Tsahkna made his remarks after a ceremony on Tuesday marking the 105th anniversary of the founding of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at which the ministry presented its Crosses of Merit, awarded to diplomats and partners from Estonia and abroad.
The recipients, both Estonians and foreign nationals, are recognized for their notable contributions to Estonia's foreign service, foreign policy and as a result, Estonia's statehood.
"This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is awarding Crosses of Merit to 24 people whose extraordinary services and remarkable efforts have helped Estonia to be seen, heard and lead the way in several initiatives," Foreign Minister Tsahkna went on, via a press release.
The Order of Merit, First Class, awarded for extraordinary services in raising Estonia's profile in the world, and contributing to Estonia's independence or significant international cooperation, was presented to former president Kersti Kaljulaid.
The former head of state was honored for her support for Ukraine and in recognition of the success of the campaign which ended up with Estonia holding a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, for the years 2020-2021, during Kaljulaid's presidency.
British journalist Edward Lucas was also decorated with the Order of Merit, First Class, in recognition of his long-standing advocacy for Estonia's interests, and of his raising of Estonia's profile worldwide.
Minister Tsahkna said Lucas' engaging writing has significantly contributed to raising Estonia's profile.
"His powerful words have played an extremely important role in explaining the positions of our region in the world," the foreign minister noted.
Edward Lucas has written for such august publications as The Economist and The Times, and was the first ever Estonian e-resident. He is a prospective Liberal Democrat candidate at next year's U.K. general election, and is the son of philosopher John Lucas (1929-2020).
The Order of Merit, Second Class is awarded for a remarkable contribution to raising Estonia's profile internationally or to significant international cooperation to the following people: Erika Ellamaa-Ots, Estonian Ambassador and representative at the EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC); Raul Mälk, former foreign minister and ambassador; Margo Grosberg, former commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, Intelligence Center; conductor Tõnu Kaljuste; Marju Rink-Abel, the longstanding head of the Estonian American National Council, and Christian Wenaweser, Ambassador of Liechtenstein to the UN.
The Order of Merit, Third Class is awarded for a substantial contribution to Estonia's interests internationally or to significant international cooperation, and was presented to: Tiia Treier, Desk Officer for Ukraine at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Karin Anna Maandi, Director of the NATO and Security Policy Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,; Tanel Tang, Counselor at Estonia's Permanent Representation to the EU; Julika Luts, Counsellor at Estonia's Permanent Representation to the EU; Kerli Veski, Director General of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mai Hion, Lawyer of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Maili Liivamäe, Estonia's Permanent Representation to the EU; Markus Kärner, Deputy Secretary General for Criminal Policy at the Ministry of Justice; Kristjan Rahu, founder of UG Investments, chairman and board member; Alo Tamm, CEO and one of the owners of Harmet OÜ; Enn Õunpuu, founder and CEO of hydrogen tech firm Elcogen; Doris Põld, CEO of the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications; Taavi Madiberk, Head of Skeleton Technologies; Roman Starapopov, Delfi Meedia journalist, for his reporting on the war in Ukraine; Airi Lauri, long-standing teacher of Estonian at a school in Upper Suetuk, a village in Siberia which has a historic Estonian community, and Anna Hints, screenwriter, director and composer.
Editor: Andrew Whyte