Allies must take Russian threat extremely seriously - Estonian PM

  • 2023-07-11
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Speaking at the opening debate of the NATO conference in Vilnius on Tuesday, ahead of the NATO summit, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stressed that the threat from Russia is and will remain and all allies must understand and take it extremely seriously.

"During the Cold War, in 1988, all NATO allies contributed 2 percent of GDP to defense because they clearly perceived the threat from Russia. We need a similar sense of threat now, but this year only 11 allies will contribute at least 2 percent of GDP to defense. I hope that by the next summit, this number will be significantly higher," the Estonian premier said.

Kallas stressed that in order to reinforce NATO's defense capabilities, we need to significantly boost the capabilities of the European defense industry, as Europe's stocks are not sufficient. We need to produce faster and more. This is necessary for continued support to Ukraine, is necessary to strengthen our own defenses to match the new security reality, she said.

After speaking at the opening discussion of the NATO conference, Kallas met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two heads of government talked about bilateral cooperation, continued support for Ukraine and strengthening NATO's defense and deterrence posture.

Kallas expressed her delight over the strengthening of bilateral relations between Estonia and Canada, including economic relations.

"A recent example of good cooperation is the Canadian company Neo Performance Materials building a magnet factory in Narva, the first of its kind in Europe, which will create a thousand new jobs in East-Viru County," she added.

Kallas also thanked the prime minister of Canada for Canada's role in ensuring the security of the Baltic states.

"Canada's recent decision to double its military presence in Latvia will help strengthen the security of the entire Baltic Sea region. All these steps show that Canada takes the implementation of the decisions made in Madrid very seriously, so that the security of all of us is more secure," she said.