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Estonian FM: We are ready to repel Russia's possible hybrid attack

NATO foreign ministers meeting on November 29, 2023.
NATO foreign ministers meeting on November 29, 2023. Source: NATO

Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) on Wednesday called the migrants arriving at Finland's border a "hybrid attack conducted by Russia" to sow discontent in society. He said Estonia is prepared in case the situation moves to its borders.

"What is happening on Finland's border is nothing less than a blatant hybrid attack conducted by Russia, aimed at sowing anxiety and instability and attempting to pressure us by weaponizing people," Tsahkna said at the Nordic and Baltic foreign ministers (NB8) in Brussels, held on the sidelines of the NATO ministerial meeting.

"It is yet more proof that Russia is not fighting only in Ukraine; instead it poses a threat to other countries with its hybrid attacks."

Tsahkna said Estonia is prepared to close its border with Russia and defend itself against any hybrid attacks.

The ministers expressed solidarity with Finland and said they were prepared to help if necessary.

More than 700 migrants arrived at Finland's border crossing points to claim asylum in November, many on bicycles. Several people said Russia arranged for them to get to the border. The events echo the situation on the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Polish borders with Belarus which have taken place for the last 2.5 years.

All of Finland's eastern border crossings will be shut from the end of the week to try and stem the flow. The Estonian authorities are watching to see if the situation moves to its borders.

The first meeting of foreign ministers in the NATO-Ukraine Council was also held in Brussels on Wednesday, with Allies discussing political, military and economic support to Ukraine ahead of the winter, and Ukraine's NATO accession process.

Tsahkna recognized Ukraine's resistance and resolve in fighting Russia's aggression. "Ukraine is a country hardened in war and it would be a valuable Ally in NATO," he said.

"I am glad that the Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba presented Ukraine's new reform plan today," he said. Reforms will help reinforce the state of Ukraine. 

The minister also discussed bilateral cooperation with his Icelandic counterpart Bjarni Benediktsson, especially in relation to reconstruction in Ukraine.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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