TALLINN – Estonian Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur, who participated in a meeting of the defense ministers of the Northern Group held in Legionowo, Poland on Monday, stressed that Ukraine's victory will strengthen everyone's security.
Pevkur said that Russia is capable of restoring its pre-war condition in this region in a matter of years, which is why it is important to consistently and strongly support Ukraine, because Ukraine's victory will strengthen the security of all of us.
"The Russian Federation is openly questioning the legitimacy and territorial integrity of the Baltic states and consistently trying to divide our societies with the means of hybrid warfare," the minister said.
"Russia is still occupying 18 percent, or 110,000 square kilometers, of the territory of Ukraine. Western military aid to Ukraine must continue, we can provide this aid. The European Union has spent 44 times more on post-pandemic recovery measures and 34 times more on mitigating the energy crisis than it has given funds to win the war," Pevkur added.
The Northern Group meeting focused on the security threats of northeastern Europe and the positions of the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius. The member states shared the view that further military assistance to Ukraine in the fight against Russia's illegal and brutal aggression is crucial. The defense ministers also agreed that the main objective of the Vilnius summit is to increase the security of the region through further strengthening of deterrence and defense.
"Increased defense spending and wisely made defense investments will help ensure the capabilities and reserves we need. 2 percent of GDP for defense spending could become an obligation for NATO member states in the near future, but we must set the goal for NATO member states' defense spending to rise to at least 2.5 percent by 2030," Pevkur said.
The Northern Group is a defense cooperation format that brings together 12 Baltic and North Sea countries -- Estonia, the Netherlands, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Denmark and the United Kingdom. The main focus of the Northern Group is on the regional security situation in northern Europe and the Arctic, the format was created in 2010 under the leadership of the United Kingdom. Poland holds the chairmanship of the group in the first half of 2023, while Sweden will lead the cooperation format in the second half of the year.