Baltic Sea to become NATO's inland sea - Estonian president

  • 2022-05-16
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian President Alar Karis said at a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday that the Kremlin's war in Ukraine will bring Finland and likely also Sweden to NATO and make the Baltic Sea NATO's inland sea.

Karis said at a meeting with Duda in Kadriorg that Russia wanted to weaken the European Union and NATO, but achieved the opposite with its aggression in Ukraine. "The European Union and NATO are more united and stronger than ever. The war started by the Kremlin in the heart of Europe will bring Finland and likely also Sweden to NATO, making the Baltic Sea NATO's inland sea and the security of the region even stronger," the president said.

The heads of state of Estonia and Poland discussed the situation in Ukraine and how to continue supporting Ukraine and make the price of Russia's aggression even more painful. "The suffering of the Ukrainians and Ukraine is on the conscience of President [Vladimir] Putin and sooner or later the Kremlin will have to pay for it in addition to the sanctions already in place," Karis said.

"I look to the capitals of all the European Union and NATO allies, the capitals of all democracies. And I say to everyone that we must not get used to this war, we must not get tired of it. Ukraine is fighting for us every day and needs our support," Karis said at a joint press conference with the Polish head of state.

The Estonian president stressed that assisting Ukraine must be a daily care and concern. "Militarily, politically, by assisting war refugees, and by providing transit routes for Ukrainian exports, for example. I commend Poland for its comprehensive contribution to assisting Ukraine. We will both continue to give our full support to Ukraine. Also for getting Ukraine the status of an European Union candidate country," Karis said.

At the press conference after the meeting, Karis said that he wanted to send a message to all those who do not dare to come to the Baltic states or Poland as tourists or entrepreneurs at the moment. "I assure you, the Baltic states and Poland are very well protected as NATO countries. The NATO summit will give us even more protection because we want a stronger allied presence here with permanent bases," the president said.

At the meeting, the presidents of Estonia and Poland also discussed ensuring energy security. "Connectivity is the key to our energy security. We are counting on Poland's support for the synchronization of power grids. In order to develop offshore wind energy, we also invite Poland to join the regional Baltic electricity grid. The recently opened Polish-Lithuanian gas pipeline GILP contributes to ensuring energy security," Karis said.

According to Karis, Poland is an extremely important ally to Estonia with which it is in close cooperation in both security and trade. "Poland is one of our most important and largest foreign trade partners in Central Europe. The interest of our companies in the Polish market is growing, especially among startups. Estonian educational technology companies are very experienced in digitizing our education sector. They are very interested in the Polish market and ready to share their experience. We are also inviting Polish entrepreneurs to visit Estonia," the president said.

Karis and Duda will also participate in the Lennart Meri Conference, where they will continue discussions on European security issues.