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Gallery: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives in Tallinn

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The arrival in Tallinn Wednesday night of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy ahead of Thursday morning's official visit brings to Estonian authorities one of the largest operations of recent years, and will involve over 800 police personnel.

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), its tactical team K-Komando, and the Internal Security Service (ISS), also known as Kapo, will all be involved in providing the necessary security, while ordinary Tallinn residents can expect some traffic restrictions and ID checks in central Tallinn Thursday morning.

For this reason, the PPA advises against driving or traveling through central Tallinn Thursday morning where possible.

Vaiko Vaher, head of the PPA's northern prefecture office, said this includes the Old Town (Vanalinn) as well as the city center (Kesklinn/Südalinn).

"In addition, we have set up a no-fly zone, meaning the flying of a drone is prohibited across Tallinn," Vaher said, adding that any unauthorized airborne drone will be taken out.

"The third piece of advice is that in the day ahead, when moving around the city, members of the public should carry their ID with them, as there are a lot of police officers around, who are there to guarantee security," Vaher added.

"There is a very high likelihood of the PPA stopping you and asking what your business and your destination is, when walking through the city center or the old town area," he continued.

Minister of Defense Pevkur: Zelenskyy's arrival went smoothly

Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said Thursday morning that Zelenskyy's arrival in Tallinn and his stay so far had gone smoothly.

Speaking to Vikerraadio show "Vikerhommik," Minister Pevkur said: "Naturally, we didn't want to disturb the president's sleep. No alerts have been received, meaning all is well. /../ Of course, we would have been happy to have withheld this arrival information a little longer, as we are talking about very high-risk visit. After all, this is the person most hunted by Russia, a person who has also been the subject of several assassination attempts."

As to why the Ukrainian president will not be meeting ordinary people on his official visit, Pevkur put this down to his hectic itinerary, meaning only national leaders were in the frame.

So far as content goes, Pevkur said, the key message is that the Western allies stand united.

"Ukraine is fighting for our freedom just as much as it is for its own freedom. We have seen that the horrors of both the world wars have not gone anywhere, plus the imperialist thinking of the Kremlin has not disappeared anywhere either," the minister continued.

As to why Zelenskyy had only come to Estonia now (he had been on an official visit prior to the Russian invasion – ed.), Pevkur said that at the start of the current war, the Ukrainian president's focus was on his own country. When the opportunity later arose to travel abroad, Zelenskyy understandably focused on those nations that required more persuasion in supporting Ukraine, than Estonia did.

"Therefore it is understandable why his focus was on the U.S., Germany and the European Parliament," the minister added.

ERR broadcasting Zelenskyy visit live

ETV is broadcasting the day's events live starting at 9.55 a.m. Estonian time, with the show "Ukraina stuudio. Päev president Volodõmõr Zelenskiga" ("Ukraina stuudio. A day with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy").

This will simultaneously be carried by ERR, with live-link also to be provided by ERR News, ERR's English-language portal.

The show will present highlights of the official visit including the President of Ukraine's meetings with President Alar Karis, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar in Estonia.

President Zelensky will also address the Riigikogu.

Hosted by ERR's Epp Ehand, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur, Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Marko Mihkelson, security experts Rainer Saks and Kalev Stoicescu, the latter a sitting MP, former diplomat Harri Tiido and senior reserve EDF officer Gen. Neeme Väli will all be contributing to "Päev president Volodõmõr Zelenskiga"

The broadcast is set to run to around 3.30 p.m. Thursday, Estonian time.

Program scheduling changes which result from this can be found on the ETV website. Etv.ee

ETV+, ERR's Russian-language channel, is to carry a special broadcast summarizing the visit on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

President Zelenskyy himself tweeted that Thursday's agenda in Tallinn includes talks on EU and NATO integration, the broader coordination of European support for and to Ukraine, and cooperation in cyber warfare and drone tech

"But above all, our thanks for the uncompromising support to Ukraine since 2014, and especially now, during the full-scale Russian aggression," Zelenskyy wrote on his official social media account.

 Zelenskyy arrived in Estonia Wednesday night direct from Vilnius, and will continue from Tallinn to Riga on Thursday afternoon.

The Estonian government office has announced that President Zelenskyy arrives at the Stenbock House, seat of the Estonian government, at 11.15 a.m. and will meet with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas for a one-to-one meeting, followed by an official photo and guestbook signing.

Deputy Minister of Strategic Industry of Ukraine Sergiy Boyev and Chairman of the Council of the Estonian Defense and Aerospace Industry Association Taavi Veskimägi are then to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding the strengthening of defense cooperation between Estonia and Ukraine, in the presence of both President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Kallas, after which the two leaders are to head to a working lunch with official delegations.

Ahead of the visit, the premier said that not only she, but all the Estonian people are honored to welcome the President of Ukraine to Tallinn. "Estonia believes in Ukraine's victory. We must support Ukraine for as long as is needed and also as much as necessary to obtain Ukraine's victory. These are crucial times, and we need to retain our focus. If we let the aggressors override international law and dictate the rules of the game, we will find ourselves in a much more dangerous world," the prime minister said, via a press release.

Editor's note: This piece was updated to include comment from Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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