Estonian PM: We need greater NATO presence in our skies, at sea, on land

  • 2022-04-25
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said at a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Monday that the Baltics need a greater NATO presence in our skies, at sea and on land.

Kallas and Scholz focused on Russia's military aggression in Ukraine, energy security and preparations for the NATO summit in Madrid, government spokespeople said.

Kallas presented to Scholz the common goals for the NATO summit in Madrid agreed on by the three Baltic prime ministers in Riga last week. "Their implementation will help strengthen the security of our region. We count on Germany's support for our vision, which is based on our region's need for a significantly larger NATO presence in the skies, on land and at sea," Kallas said.

The prime minister thanked Scholz for Germany's leading role in ensuring the security of the Baltic states. Germany has been a NATO battlegroup framework country in Lithuania since 2017 and has increased its presence there to more than 900 troops. Germany has also defended our skies in Amari and Siauliai by participating in the Baltic air policing mission.

At the meeting, Kallas emphasized the continued need for the complete isolation of Russia. "The Kremlin's war against Ukraine is an attack on humanity and there can be no return to former relations with Russia. A fundamental change in relations with Russia must also be confirmed in black and white at the level of NATO and the European Union," she said. According to the prime minister, Germany has made important decisions to provide military assistance to Ukraine, but as long as the horrors in Ukraine continue, no one has done enough.

Kallas also stressed that the European Union cannot silently observe the destruction of the Ukrainian state and people. "We need quick decisions. The next sanctions package must cover oil and gas. As buyers, Europe has power," she said. The prime minister also raised the issue of creating an escrow account that would enable to reduce the financing of the Russian war machine, send a clear signal to Russia that it is paying for every destroyed house, bridge and road and to set aside money for the rebuilding of Ukraine.

Estonia's bilateral cooperation with Germany to help Ukraine has worked well. "The field hospital donated to Ukraine as a joint project is in active use. We want to implement new similar cooperation projects in cooperation with Germany," Kallas said.

Kallas and Scholz also spoke about energy security and cooperation, particularly in the field of renewable energy. "Germany is interested in Estonian offshore wind farms and we discussed ways to increase Germany's role," Kallas said.

Kallas is also scheduled to meet with Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht in person and with Minister of Finance Christian Lindner via video bridge.

On Monday evening, Kallas will give a speech at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.