NATO members must increase heavy weaponry shipments to Ukraine now - Estonian foreign minister

  • 2022-11-30
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – In his remarks at a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest on Tuesday, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that alliance members must increase heavy weaponry shipments to Ukraine immediately.

At the first session of the NATO ministerial meeting, Reinsalu, who was in Kyiv on Monday with his Nordic and Baltic colleagues, gave an overview of the meetings in Ukraine, emphasizing the need to provide Ukraine with air defense systems and long-range missiles.

"We must change our mindset from gradual assistance to comprehensive assistance," Reinsalu said according to spokespeople for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn. He added that there is no European security without the security of Ukraine, and like-minded countries must aim to increase defense assistance to Ukraine.

Arriving in Bucharest with his Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba, Reinsalu said that to achieve victory, it is necessary to first survive the winter, and this is why Ukraine urgently needs heavy weaponry and air defense systems in addition to humanitarian aid.

"At today's meeting, I called on all NATO members to contribute one percent of their GDP to helping Ukraine," Reinsalu said.

In addition to increasing defense assistance, Reinsalu underlined the need to discuss Ukraine's path to NATO.

"Today, as we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Prague summit, when Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Slovakia were asked to join, I hope that in the future we can celebrate Ukraine receiving an invitation to become a NATO member," Reinsalu said. He added that in the future, NATO's door must remain open to all like-minded democracies of Europe.

The Estonian minister said that Ukraine's victory and certainty that Russia would not dictate the way of life of its neighbors, as well as Ukraine's NATO membership were the preconditions for the future security architecture of Europe.

On the sidelines of the meeting of foreign ministers, Reinsalu also discussed NATO enlargement with his Turkish colleague Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"I hope that the Turkish parliament will soon approve the accession protocols of Finland and Sweden because the addition of Finland and Sweden would strengthen the entire alliance, particularly the Baltic Sea region," Reinsalu said. He conveyed his condolences to Turkiye and the families of victims of all those killed in the recent terror attack in Istanbul and the devastating earthquake in the Duzce region.

On the initiative of the G7 and partners, discussions also covered the resistance of Ukraine's energy infrastructure to Russia's intensified attacks, which target the critical civilian infrastructure.

The event marking 20 years since the formal invitation to NATO featured archival photos and short clips from the Prague summit, where Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Slovakia were invited to join NATO. The foreign ministers of the invited countries attended the event and signed a commemorative stamp collection.

On the second day of the meeting, the agenda includes support to NATO partners Georgia, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina, actions related to the strategic concept of the alliance, China, energy security and resilience. Finland and Sweden were invited to attend all formal sessions.

The foreign ministers of NATO members, as well as Finland and Sweden, made a joint statement expressing support to Ukraine and reiterating NATO's readiness to face any challenges.