TALLINN – Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday that NATO has an answer to the nuclear threats of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Pevkur, three important conclusions can be drawn from the meeting. "Firstly, the NATO secretary general issued a clear message that any nuclear escalation by Russia would irreversibly change the course of the war in Ukraine. Secondly, it is important to understand that NATO has action plans for responding to a nuclear threat, meaning NATO's nuclear umbrella is working, and thirdly, NATO's large-scale nuclear exercise will begin on Monday, with which NATO allies will test their readiness according to various threat scenarios," the minister said.
In addition, Pevkur said that NATO allies are naturally following Russia's activities very closely. "Any nuclear threat is irresponsible. And although today we do not see that Russia has increased its readiness to go through with the threats, we must be in constant contact with our allies," the minister added.
Commenting on the annual NATO nuclear exercise Steadfast Noon, which will take place next week, Pevkur said that its occurrence is planned, as was our additional training gathering. "Considering that the Russian nuclear exercise GROM is also taking place across the border, there is currently no reason to postpone or cancel regular planned exercises," Pevkur added.
Prior to the meeting of the defense ministers, a meeting on support for Ukraine between the defense ministers of over 40 countries was also held on Wednesday in the format of the contact group for the support of Ukraine convened by the United States.
"It was good to see that many countries around the meeting table think like us -- Ukraine must be supported as long as needed and as much as needed. For example, the value of US military support has already risen to an impressive 17.5 billion US dollars. Today, the Estonian government also supported our next aid package for Ukraine, which includes winter equipment, ammunition and bulletproof vests," Pevkur said.