Estonian defmin in Munich: Political will not enough to help Ukraine

  • 2024-02-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonia's Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur, who attended the Munich Security Conference on Friday and Saturday, stressed in his speeches and the meetings he had the need to make additional quick decisions in assisting Ukraine, because political will alone will not help Ukraine.

Delaying the provision of additional military assistance to Ukraine makes the situation more critical every day, he said.

"Over the Munich weekend, the war came tens of kilometers closer to NATO when Avdiyivka fell, meaning that every delay means additional loss of life on the battlefield," the minister said according to spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense in Tallinn. "We also need to increase Europe's defense readiness decisively and quickly. The European Union has taken several good, short-term steps to reduce the defense deficit, but we are facing strategic challenges that require not only words but also action."

After a panel on possible solutions to defense industry production gaps, Pevkur summarized the discussion by stating that the message from the defense industry is very simple and clear -- if there are contracts, then it is possible to fulfill them. According to the Estonian minister, the most critical capability gaps are in air defense, indirect fire capabilities, and replenishing munition stocks.

"It is also important to emphasize that increasing defense spending is an opportunity, not just an additional burden for Europe. A strong defense industry is an engine for the economy, creating jobs, technology, and dual-use solutions, which can bring benefits that we may not even be able to think of today," he said.

At the conference, the Estonian minister participated in roundtables on deterrence and defense on NATO's eastern flank and cyber operations, as well as in a meeting of NATO defense ministers and members of the US Congress. Pevkur also met with Romania's Defense Minister Angel Tilvar, US Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger, Japan's Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Shingo Miyake, Sweden's Minister of Civil Defense Carl-Oscar Bohlin, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and a number of defense industry executives.

Pevkur also met with the UK's former minister of defense Ben Wallace to present the Estonian national decoration bestowed on Wallace by the president of Estonia for his contribution to the promotion of security-related cooperation and for strengthening the defenses of NATO's eastern flank.