National Defence Committee visiting Ukraine, Georgia

Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu Hannes Hanso (SDE).
Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu Hannes Hanso (SDE). Source: (Mihkel Maripuu/Eesti Meedia/Scanpix)

Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu Hannes Hanso (SDE) and committee members Johannes Kert (Reform), Ants Laaneots (Reform) and Madis Milling (Reform) are in Ukraine on Monday and Georgia on Tuesday, where they will meet their colleagues to discuss security and defence issues related to the Eastern Partnership (EaP).

Hanso believes it is important to support both Georgia and Ukraine, according to a Riigikogu press release.

"Estonia has enjoyed longtime defence cooperation with these Eastern partners, both bilaterally and via NATO," he said. "We have trained the troops of both countries, we share our experience in the field of cyber defence and we wish this cooperation were even greater and more frequent."

At their meetings in Ukraine on Monday, the Estonian delegation hopes to receive an overview of the developments in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict and the implementtion of the Minsk Agreements.

"Together with our allies, we are ready to contribute to resolving the Ukrainian conflict, support potential peacekeeping missions, the disarmament of the region and restoration of the rule of law," Hanso said. "Estonia's political support of the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia and to the continuation of the Euro-Atlantic integration processes is very important to those countries. The final aim of these processes should be the NATO membership of Ukraine and Georgia.

Kert said that Georgia has concluded a bilateral defence cooperation agreement with Estonia which covers both training and military cooperation.

"We have supported them in training their troops and shared our experience in the organising of conscription service," he noted. "The Estonian Defence League (EDL) has a role in the building up of the National Guard of Georgia, and the cooperation continues."

Kert also said that the Georgian Armed Forces are a market for the Estonian defence industry, mentioned unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and simulation systems as examples.

Laaneots, meanwhile, considered it very important that NATO use the conclusions made from the Ukrainian conflict and the war in Georgia to ensure the security of the entire region, and does not allow the Eastern neighbour to lull itself. The purpose of this visit, he said, is to collect information and demonstrate Estonia's support of the territorial integrity of both Ukraine and Georgia.

The Estonian delegation is meeting in Kiev today with the Estonian Ambassador to Ukraine as well with representatives of the Verkhovna Rada and the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. They will also discuss security issues with Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksandr Turchynov.

On Tuesday, the delegation will travel on to Georgia, where presidential elections were held on Sunday. They will meet with Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze, Secretary of National Security Council of Georgia David Rakviashvili, members of the National Security Council as well as representatives of the Parliament of Georgia.

Likewise on the agenda is a visit to Georgia's State Military Scientific-Technical Center "Delta" (SMSTC Delta).


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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