Estonian formin calls for reducing dependence on authoritarian regimes

  • 2022-11-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The West must rapidly increase its independence from the energy carriers of authoritarian states and continue strengthening its defense and deterrence posture, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu said at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania, on Wednesday.

Speaking on the second day of the meeting, Reinsalu underscored that Russia remains the biggest and most direct threat to NATO. The alliance must continue focusing on strengthening its defense and deterrence posture, raising the price of the war for Russia and supporting Ukraine.

"We must move forward with implementing the decisions of the Madrid summit," the Estonian minister said, adding that in addition to Russia, the alliance needs to be prepared to respond to various other threats, including terrorism.

The follow-up of the Madrid summit was also discussed at the meeting of Baltic foreign ministers and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on the sidelines of the NATO meeting.

"I thanked the United Kingdom for their remarkable contribution to European security, in particular on NATO's eastern flank, and we discussed cooperation on boosting the defense and deterrence posture in Estonia," Reinsalu said. Topics discussed at the meeting also included preventing impunity for Russia and raising the price of the war for the aggressor.

"Russia's inhuman war affects us all, which is why we must rapidly increase aid to Ukraine, as well as to other partners, including Moldova, and raise the cost of the war for Russia," the foreign minister noted.

Russia's war in Ukraine has demonstrated the danger posed by the West's dependence on Russian gas.

"We need to learn from our mistakes and reduce our dependence on authoritarian countries, including China," Reinsalu said.

Sustainability and dependence on the energy carriers of authoritarian countries are one of the reasons why Estonia does not support the proposed price cap on Russian oil as it deems said cap does not serve its purpose.

"Every additional dollar we pay for Russian oil supports the war in Ukraine and Putin's regime," he said.

On Wednesday evening, Reinsalu is to travel to Lodz, Poland, to attend a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers. Estonia is organizing a side event on Belarus at the meeting and Reinsalu will also attend a side event on impunity in Ukraine.