EKRE MP: Estonia should not assist Ukraine at expense of own defense capability

  • 2022-01-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Providing Ukraine with military assistance should be of critical importance for aid recipients and the provision thereof should not be conducted at the expense of Estonia's own defense capability, according to MP and reservist serviceman Leo Kunnas.

The group of the opposition Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) submitted an interpellation to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in the parliament on Monday based on the information that the Estonian government is planning to provide Ukraine with the Javelin antitank missiles and 122 mm howitzers with ammunition as part of military assistance, spokespeople for EKRE said.

Kunnas, who was the submitter of the interpellation, pointed out that Ukraine is one of the five countries in the world that are presently able to produce weapons, military equipment and ammunition in all their categories with the exception of nuclear weapons.

"After the annexation of Crimea and the start of hostilities in eastern Ukraine in 2014, Ukraine's defense spending has consistently been much larger than that of Estonia; for instance, in 2020, it was 4.1 percent of GDP. Ukraine does not have a shortage of artillery, their number of artillery systems is much larger than their number of trained artillery units," Kunnas said.

"The critical minimal need in Estonia, however, is an artillery battalion in both of the infantry brigades and artillery battalions in our territorial defense districts. Therefore, there are currently no superfluous artillery systems in Estonia that we could give to other countries," he added.

"The goal to assist Ukraine is noble; however, the provision of assistance should be based on two requirements -- the aid should be of critical importance to its recipient and the provision thereof should not be carried out at the expense of Estonia's own defense capability. Neither of the conditions is met with the 122 mm howitzers while with the Javelin missiles, it is the second of the said requirements that is not met," he went on.

Kunnas proposed that the 122 mm howitzers together with their equipment and ammunition should instead be given to the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps for the purpose of forming artillery battalions in territorial defense districts and modernizing their fire control systems.