TALLINN – Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Wednesday that an increase in Russia's malign activities can be seen.
Liimets on Wednesday attended a meeting of NATO foreign ministers to discuss Russia and regional security. Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also participated.
The ministers touched upon Russia’s military actions, violations of international law and arms control, and undermining democracy and the Western system. "We underlined the continuation of our dual track policy towards Russia -- we should continue to strengthen our deterrence and defense posture and to build up our resilience, while remaining open to dialogue," Liimets said.
According to the minister, Russia has systematically increased its military presence and strengthened its posture from the Arctic all the way down to Africa in recent years. "We are witnessing an increase in Russia’s malign activities, be it hybrid and cyber attacks, election meddling, human rights violations, and the poisoning and detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny," Liimets said.
"We must continue with NATO’s political and practical support to our close partners Ukraine and Georgia, who are most exposed to Russian pressure and whose territorial integrity and sovereignty have been violated. Russia’s aggressive and destabilizing pattern of behavior constitutes the most serious threat to the Alliance for the foreseeable future," Liimets said.
"The participation of High Representative Josep Borrell, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto provided a chance for a broad-based discussion and also demonstrated the strategic partnership of NATO and the European Union. We reaffirmed our resolve to give a principled response to Russia’s destabilizing behavior," Liimets added. "NATO-EU cooperation is necessary to strengthen European security and to build up our resilience against various challenges."