TALLINN – Meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Valletta, Malta, on Thursday, Estonian President Alar Karis said that support for Ukraine and pressuring Russia must be continued.
"It is also important to continue the pressure on the Kremlin with sanctions," Karis said according to spokespeople.
The president explained to his Italian counterpart the reasons why Estonia decided to restrict travel by Russian citizens on tourist visas.
"This is a security issue for Estonia, as millions of people want to leave Russia," he said.
In addition to military aid, the heads of state of Estonia and Italy considered it important to provide comprehensive assistance to Ukraine in building up the country again. Karis informed his Italian colleague that Estonia is helping to rebuild the Zhytomyr region in Ukraine. The presidents also talked about helping Ukrainian war refugees in both Estonia and Italy.
Speaking about defense cooperation between Estonia and Italy, Karis said that Estonia highly appreciates Italy's contribution to NATO's Baltic air policing mission and NATO's enhanced forward presence (eFP) forces.
"In the future, we look forward to seeing Italian air force personnel return to Amari Base to participate in the air defense of our region," he added.
Presidents Karis and Mattarella agreed that relations between Estonia and Italy are excellent and expressed the hope that close communication will continue also after the new Italian government takes office.
Karis hailed cultural cooperation between Estonia and Italy, which will certainly be strengthened by the new cooperation program for the coming years signed in September. The Estonian and Italian heads of state also discussed digital and cyber cooperation.