Aim is to strengthen defense of NATO's eastern flank

  • 2022-06-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Monday that Estonia's aim at the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid is to achieve political decisions for strengthening the defense of the alliance's eastern flank.

"The new security situation demands that NATO create a more effective readiness for the rapid defense of the Baltic states than before. This requires the presence of permanently reinforced allied forces and military capabilities on land, at sea and in the air in our region, as well as a well-functioning chain of command to command these forces and capabilities," Kallas said. 

She added that Estonia is working with its allies to establish front-line defense and a situation must be achieved in which NATO battlegroups intended for the defense of the Baltic states are strengthened and additional specific units that are ready to act immediately are designated for crisis and war situations. A new long-term deterrence and defense stance would build on the existing presence of NATO allies and take it to a new level.

"We need a militarily wise but resource-efficient solution. This will be a long-term process for which the decisions of the Madrid summit must provide a basis. Madrid is part of the journey, not the end of the journey," Kallas said, adding that, for example, we have already agreed on cooperation with the United Kingdom to set up a division-level management structure and have begun to work out the details of this cooperation.

Kallas also said that allies must issue a clear message in support of Ukraine in Madrid. "NATO countries must continue to support Ukraine so that Ukraine can win and determine the conditions for peace itself. The provision of weapons assistance and, in particular, heavy weapons is important here," the prime minister added. "NATO's open door policy must also continue. Of course, we also continue to support the rapid progress of the NATO accession process of Finland and Sweden."

According to Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet, the forthcoming decisions reflect a generational change in NATO's deterrence and defense posture. "We are entering a new era in which the most important task for NATO allies is collective defense and deterrence. This means that the enemy understands that the attack would be too costly for them. The implementation of these decisions requires a large contribution from each ally, including defense expenditures," Laanet added.

Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Andres Sutt, who is also fulfilling the tasks of foreign minister, said that NATO is also paying increasing attention to new and innovative technologies to maintain the alliance's technological superiority in the future and a new innovation fund will be set up for this purpose at the Madrid summit. "War in Ukraine has shown that various technological solutions such as drones are playing an increasingly important role on the battlefield. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the alliance is at the forefront of new technological developments, and we, as a country, have made a great contribution to the creation of the new innovation fund," Sutt said.

The minister added that it is important to maintain and further strengthen the unity between allies at the Madrid summit, especially from the point of view of transatlantic relations.

The focus of the NATO summit will be on strengthening NATO's defense and deterrence posture and supporting Ukraine. The summit will also focus on NATO's cooperation with various partners and discuss NATO's enlargement and open door policies. The summit will also include discussion of threats from the South and terrorism, as well as food security. The plan is to approve NATO's new strategic concept, which will guide NATO's vision for the coming years and adequately reflect the changed security environment. A summit declaration is also planned.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will address the first work session of the heads of state and government. Invited to participate in the second work session of heads of state and government are Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, President of South Korea Suk Yeol Yoon, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursual von der Leyen. Gerald E. Connolly, president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, will address the third session.