If Russia wins the war in Ukraine, the whole of Europe will be in danger – not only the Baltic states, the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania said in Tallinn on Monday (December 11).
Alar Karis, Edgars Rinkevics, and Gitanas Nauseda met to mark the end of the Estonian presidency of the Baltic cooperation, which Lithuania will lead in 2024.
Speaking at a joint press conference they emphasized Ukraine will win the war but the West must be prepared for a long struggle. Additionally, Russia's ability to learn from its own mistakes must not be underestimated.
Asked if the Baltic states will be next if Russia wins the war by "Aktuaalne kaamera", the heads of state said the danger to Europe is wider.
"If this happens, we are all in danger, it's not only the Baltic states, but the whole of Europe, the whole Western world. This is something we have to remind our partners," Karis said.
"We should understand that for this regime, the Kremlin's regime, there is no final destination or final targets. This regime has a big number of targets and among them could be the Baltic states, other countries of eastern Europe, and even central Europe too," said Gitanas Nauseda, Lithuania's president.
Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said: "If Russia is going to attack any of the Baltic states or NATO states on the eastern flank, then they will see that we are ready to fight and we don't take any chances. We continue to improve our defense capabilities and our ability to resist any challenges... We should also not get into a kind of panic."
The presidents also touched on EU enlargement which will be discussed at the European Council meeting in Brussels this week.
"Together, we are hoping to move forward in fulfilling their European dream," Karis said. "Decisions we shall make will send a global signal. It is our moment to show that the EU is determined and strong, preparing to grow stronger. It is our chance to make a strategic investment in European peace, security, and prosperity. We must use this momentum wisely and proceed with the EU´s most successful policy – the enlargement."
The presidents visited Pelgulinna State High School and discussed the role of young people in a democratic society and the impact of populism in Europe.
"We talked about democracy and how young people can better influence our future policies. Also, about the importance of human rights and freedom to choose your destiny. Freedom to choose own destiny is something we wish for every individual and state," Karis said in a statement.
They also watched a performance by students from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater.
The discussion titled "Lost in the Process? Youth, Democracy & Populism" at Pelgulinna State Secondary School can be watched below.
Editor: Helen Wright, Merili Nael
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera