Estonian PM: NATO must strengthen defense where it is most needed

  • 2022-05-13
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on Friday met with the President of Poland Andrzej Duda, who is on a visit to Estonia, to talk about the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid and Russia's military aggression in Ukraine as well as opportunities to assist Ukraine.

According to Kallas, Poland is an excellent and dedicated ally in NATO. "Estonia greatly appreciates Poland's role in NATO's collective defense, especially its participation in the Baltic air policing mission," the prime minister said. She added that our bilateral defense cooperation is also active and close. "Together with Polish forces, Estonian troops helped counter the hybrid attack by Belarus on the external border of the European Union. Polish soldiers will also participate in the large-scale exercise Siil (Hedgehog) of our defense forces, which is scheduled to start soon."

The prime minister said that, in NATO, Estonia and Poland both understand that the alliance's defense and deterrence posture needs to be urgently strengthened in the changed security situation. "In this regard, clear and strong decisions must be taken at the Madrid summit in June. Considering that Russia has increased the level of aggression in Europe, NATO must strengthen defense where it is most needed. Foremost on NATO's eastern flank," she added.

The Estonian prime minister and Polish president also found that efforts to stop Putin's war machine in Ukraine and isolate Russia politically and militarily must continue. "We still have a long way to go, including the adoption of the EU's sixth sanctions package," Kallas said. It was also discussed how to support Ukraine's EU aspirations. It is important to give Ukraine a message of hope with clear conditions and guidelines.

Kallas also highlighted Poland's vital role in providing comprehensive assistance to Ukraine. "Poland has done a lot to help Ukraine and is continuing these efforts. The European Commission's assistance to those countries that have received Ukrainian war refugees is also important," the prime minister said. Poland has provided military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and received more than three million war refugees. The recent donors' conference in Warsaw was also a success. In total, more than six billion euros was raised to help Ukraine.

Kallas and Duda discussed ways in which Poland and the Baltic states could help export Ukrainian grain. Ukrainian grain is of global importance and many parts of the world depend on it. In order to prevent global hunger, a solution must be found to get the grain out of Ukraine.

Kallas called on Poland to join the initiative to build a Baltic Sea energy network, to which offshore wind farms could be connected and which would also act as additional transnational electricity connections.