No single weapon system can solve all defense issues at once, says official

Vseviov (right) with Defence Minister Jüri Luik (IRL) at the presentation of a Patriot system in Tallinn, February 2018. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

There is no such thing as a silver bullet: No single weapon system can address all of a nation's defense issues, which means that e.g. that a U.S. deployment of the Patriot missile system to the Baltic states isn't actually that important, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Jonatan Vseviov, told ERR on Wednesday.

The joint declaration signed by presidents Trump, Kaljulaid, Vējonis, and Grybauskaitė following their meeting in Washington on Tuesday mentions American plans to allocate up to $100 million to supporting the Baltic states' impending ammunition procurements, along with another $70 million for training and other equipment.

"The USA's help in developing Estonia's defensive capacity has increased noticeably over the last years," Vseviov told ERR's Aleksander Krjukov on Wednesday. "This help is visible in those areas that are very important to us as well, allowing us to arm and equip our military faster and to make sure that our defensive capacity is real and doesn't just exist on paper."

Though Vseviov couldn't say whether or not additional U.S. units would be sent to the Baltic states, he did confirm that different American units would be active in Estonia in the short term.

"The most important thing is that they can make it to Estonia when they are needed here. To that end we are planning to routinely train the transfer of U.S. troops to our area," he said.

Commenting on recent calls for a deployment of the Patriot missile system to the Baltic states, Vseviov said that there are plans for exercises, but that no single weapon system would ever act as a silver bullet of sorts that could resolve all of a country's defense issues at once.

"The question is if these troops with all of the power they require can make it here in time if they're needed," he said.

This required thorough planning, and further cooperation based on such planning, Vseviov added, as well as exercises, infrastructure, and also regulations that would allow units to cross borders and European territories quickly.

"All of this is on the table at NATO. We believe that this summer's NATO summit will bring very clear decisions in all of these matters," he added.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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