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Expert: Zelenskyy visit to Estonia will not be marred by any Russia-related incidents

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Vilnius, Lithuania, on Wednesday, ahead of his trip to Tallinn.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Vilnius, Lithuania, on Wednesday, ahead of his trip to Tallinn. Source: LRT/J. STACEVICIUS

Despite the tight security, we should not expect any major threats or incidents arising from President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy 's snap visit to Estonia on Thursday, security expert Rainer Saks says.

Speaking to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Wednesday, after the news of Zelenskyy's official trip to Estonia on Thursday was made public, Saks said: "No incidents must happen here, since it would be embarrassing, though I don't expect any major dangers arising from the visit," said Sachs.

Russia's desire to provoke a situation where Ukraine will start to call for for the end of hostilities and a truce, coming up to two years since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began.

"Zelenskyy's arrival is significant in that his country is at war with Russia, but Russia will definitely not attack Zelenskyy [in Estonia], so that is not the issue," the expert added,.

"Zelenskyy's visit, which is taking place, is a source of psychological tension," he went on.

Given the one-day trip is now public, with portions to be carried live X by ETV, there is nothing to hide in any case, Saks went on, also praising the capabilities of Estonia's security service, the ISS, and other authorities, when it comes to official, high-level visits.

That the visit came as a surprise to most people in Estonia: "As a rule, information is not given on Zelenskyy's movements. There has been preliminary information issued on his worldwide visits, but even then the effort is not to publicly discuss exactly which destinations he moves to."

Saks also said that high-level visits like this in Estonia are generally not accompanied by major disruptions such as lengthy traffic gridlocks, thanks again to the authorities' professionalism.

Rainer Saks. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

More broadly, Saks said that the U.S. is not putting pressure on Ukraine to conclude an armistice, though added that there, as in all countries, there are to be found individual politicians who would call for this.

More pressing is the issue of continued support to Ukraine, Saks said, adding: "it is vital that even if there is no such pressure, they will be helped with military equipment, but this issue has ground to a halt."

Saks neither confirmed nor denied the activity or presence of Russian intelligence agents in Estonia, though noted that: "Russian intelligence and counter-intelligence have not performing so well lately, while their embassy in Tallinn is also underdeveloped."

While the Estonia-Russia border is essentially closed, reaching Estonia from third countries is still viable, he added.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has started his Baltic tour during which he will also visit Tallinn on Thursday.

The Ukrainian president embarked upon a two-day tour of the Baltic states on Wednesday, starting with Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.

While for security reasons a detailed itinerary of Zelenskyy's trip has not been made public, the Ukrainian president arrived in Tallinn amid tight security Wednesday night, with the formal events to take place Thursday morning. Zelenskyy will be in Riga from Thursday afternoon.

The Office of the President in Estonia has confirmed Zelenskyy's visit and that he will be meeting with President Alar Karis, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200), and will also address the Riigikogu, which returned to work at the start of this week.

In his tweet announcing the visit, Zelenskyy called Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania "reliable friends" and "principled partners."

While in Lithuania on Wednesday, public broadcaster LRT reports, Zelenskyy said: "This is not just a visit of gratitude; it is a visit of shared trust between the nations that live in the neighborhood of Russia."

The Ukrainian leader later addressed a large crowd close to the presidential palace in Vilnius.

Rainer Saks is a former chief of the Välisluureamet, the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, a former head of the Estonian president's office, and a former foreign ministry secretary general.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mari Peegel

Source: 'Ringvaade,' interviewer Marko Reikop

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