Estonia – Strong Defender of…

Estonia – Strong Defender of Ukraine

It has been our contention that the former captive nations of Russian subjugation are their own best defenders against renewed Russian aggression. They know the reality of Moscow’s prison of nations and they know that Russia, regardless of its political coloration, is eager to rebuild this evil environment. This has been their collective message since the end of World War Two. Actually, Russia’s march against neighboring countries isn’t a current campaign. As we’ve been saying, it’s been pursuing this belligerent quest for a millennium.

Today’s Russian invasion and war against Ukraine demonstrates the danger that is at the border of every former captive nation. Yes, some of them, Poland and the Baltic States, have the benefit of NATO’s protection but trepidation is in the alliance’s warnings to the Kremlin.

The only solid support they can offer each other, especially Ukraine, is collectively defending each other from Russia’s imperial designs. We have advocated for a strong military alliance among them as well as a most favored nation arrangement for commercial purposes.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the now independent and sovereign countries have shown to be the best advocates for Ukraine. They have vigorously endorsed closing the skies above Ukraine and sending Ukraine all modern weapons with which to subdue and possible vanquish the aggressor.

We’ve compiled here a selection of strong observations by Estonian officials about the war and helping Ukraine from the Estonian World, which proves this point.

• Estonian president Alar Karis gave a speech on March 16 in Tallinn at a concert in support of Ukraine, where he said that the missiles falling on Ukrainian cities are falling on every city in Europe and that all of Europe is at war, fighting against the aggressor and for peace. “Putin has taken from us a world in which, despite its uncertainties and the crises it faced, one thing seemed certain: no European country would wage war on another. Putin’s aggression towards Ukraine has changed everything. The attacks of Russia’s land, sea and air forces on Ukrainian people and cities expose the true face of evil,” Karis said. “This war will not end any time soon; nor will it end once the last battle has been fought. It will weigh heavily on generations to come. Ukraine will need our support for a long time, and it is the debt we owe them. Because again, in defending Odesa, Mariupol and Kyiv, they are defending Berlin, Tallinn and Stockholm.”

Policymakers and the public can either boycott Russian energy fully today, to stop the invasion immediately; or they can watch Russian forces commit one outrage after another – every day moving closer to the territory of the EU, Oleg Ustenko, an economic adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, wrote in the Estonian World.

The Estonian Foreign Ministry on March 18 summoned the Russian ambassador to the country and handed over a diplomatic note stating that three staff members with diplomatic status of the Russian Embassy have been declared persona non grata. According to the foreign ministry, the activity of the people in question has been in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and therefore they must leave Estonia within 72 hours. All three have directly and actively undermined Estonia’s security and spread propaganda justifying Russia’s military action, the foreign ministry said.

The British Army’s Royal Welsh battalion has taken over as the lead unit of the NATO battlegroup in Estonia. The formal ceremony was held in Tapa military base, Estonia. The British battalion will lead the 1,700-strong NATO battlegroup that also includes French and Danish troops.

The Estonian Council of Churches and the leaders of member churches, including Eugene, the head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, issued a statement condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Estonia has contributed €220 million ($243,529,000) worth of aid to Ukraine, the major share of which is military aid, but the country has also sent medical and humanitarian aid, according to the Estonian Defense Ministry. Estonia has sent an undisclosed number of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine as well as Soviet-made 122-mm howitzer D-30s.

The Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet attended a recent meeting of NATO defense ministers at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, where the situation in Ukraine and further options for supporting Ukraine were discussed. “Estonia’s message at the NATO table is to significantly strengthen the alliance’s eastern flank, which also means increasing the troops and capabilities stationed in Estonia,” Laanet said in a statement.

The United States Congress has passed a $1.5 trillion budget package that includes $180 million in security assistance for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 2022.

The Council of Europe today expelled Russia from the continent’s foremost human rights body in an unprecedented move over Moscow’s invasion and war in Ukraine. The 47-nation organization’s committee of ministers said in statement that “the Russian Federation ceases to be a member of the Council of Europe as from today.” After the decision, the Council of Europe staff went outside of its headquarters in Strasbourg, France, and took down the Russian flag. Russia was a member of the organization for 26 years.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in an interview with the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s radio service that the West should not openly say it will not intervene in Ukraine under any circumstances – just like the US president, Joe Biden, has repeatedly said, for example.

• The Estonian parliament on March 14 adopted a resolution addressed to the parliaments of other EU member states and NATO, as well as to the parliaments of other countries regarding Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, in which the legislative body demands a no-fly zone in Ukraine. In the resolution, supported by 90 MPs of 101, the parliament expressed its support to the defenders and the people of the state of Ukraine in their fight against the Russian Federation “that has launched a criminal war, and calls on showing absolute support to Ukraine in its war for maintaining its freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet said at the Estonian Television’s morning program that he personally supports the closure of the airspace over Ukraine. “If you send fighters to actually defend the airspace that is an additional argument for intervention. At the end of the day, I dare not say whether NATO’s decision will be either way. But if you ask my opinion, personally I would make that move. My opinion is yes,” Laanet said.

• Estonia’s Twitter handles include Stand with Ukraine after the ministry or department designation.