Estonian PM: Our and the world's worries can be summed up in one word - war

  • 2024-02-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – In a speech made at a ceremony to mark the 106th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia at the Estonian National Museum in Tartu on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stated that the problems of Estonia and the whole world can be summed up in one word -- war.

Kallas said that, unfortunately, the world does not consist only of bright moments, and there are many problems, both here and around the world.

"In the grand scheme of things, both our concerns and those of the whole world can be summed up in one word -- war. The day after tomorrow, it will be two years since the beginning of the major war. For two years now, the Ukrainian people have been repelling the attacks of their aggressive neighbor -- Russia -- and are defending themselves with extraordinary bravery on all fronts. They are defending themselves because they have seen what happens when the Russians win," she said.

According to Kallas, it is clear that the dragging on of the war serves Russia's interests and war fatigue is spreading among the supporters of Ukraine, which can be felt and seen among politicians as well as residents of different countries.

"It is slightly strange to say that we are tired of this war when we are not the ones who are fighting. However, in every European country there is a considerable number of people who think that Russia is not really that bad. Even in Estonia, there are politicians who are not even really hiding that they really do not care what happens to Ukraine and Ukrainians," the prime minister said.

"Every time you hear talk about one's own people being stripped of their pants while Ukrainians are given every last cent, you can be sure that it is not really about the pants or the last cent. It is about inciting indifference and xenophobia, it is talk about it being none of our business what happens to Ukraine. I am not indifferent about it, the current government is not indifferent, any Estonian who values our independence should not feel indifferent about it," Kallas added.

According to the prime minister, since the beginning of the war, the president of Ukraine has been asking Western countries -- including Estonia -- for help, support and solidarity.

"He has not asked us to shed blood or risk our lives. He has asked us to be ready to give up some of our comforts in order to provide aid to Ukraine and Ukrainians. To the same Ukrainians who have been shedding blood, sweat and tears for two years already while also fighting for our freedom," she said.

"We have an unpleasant neighbor, but we are determined to make sure that it never dares to bother us. We know exactly what we have to do and we do it. Even if a tax increase seems particularly objectionable to you, be comforted by knowing that we are investing a large part of the tax revenue in the security of our country. Be it as investments in direct defense spending, energy security, or even switching to Estonian-language education. We are doing a lot of things that should have been done a long time ago and the postponement of which now would be simply irresponsible," Kallas said.

In her speech, the prime minister also focused on tax hikes, the work culture of the parliament and spoke about herself as prime minister and the role of women in Estonian society.