TALLINN – Estonian President Alar Karis said at a meeting with Adm. Rob Bauer, chair of the NATO Military Committee, on Thursday that the quick and full implementation of the decisions made in Madrid is essential.
"It is important for Estonia that NATO units are ready to protect Estonia from the first moment of a possible military conflict. This means, among other things, that specific units must be planned for this," Karis was quoted by spokespeople as saying.
According to the head of state, Russia's invasion of Ukraine shows that NATO continues to be crucial for European security. "I am sure that only the military superiority of the West will discourage Moscow," Karis said at the meeting. "The fact that Russian forces have not achieved their goals in Ukraine does not mean that the Russian military threat has disappeared, and therefore we must not lose our vigilance."
Karis told Bauer that Estonian support for NATO has always been very high. "NATO remains the cornerstone of Estonia's military defense," Karis said and thanked the allies for their quick response to the heightened security situation in February.
Karis pointed out Estonia's actions to strengthen military defense. "We understand well that we also have to make more of a effort. The government has allocated additional funds for the rapid development of new military capabilities. Our goal is to create a framework for a division that would enable allied forces to operate smoothly together with the Estonian defense forces," he said.
Speaking about the expansion of the alliance, Karis expressed hope that Finland and Sweden will become full members of NATO as soon as possible. "This significantly expands the opportunities of the alliance and also tightens regional defense cooperation. It is important to treat the Baltic Sea region as a single space in military terms," the Estonian head of state said.
On Friday evening, Karis will speak at the opening ceremony of the NATO Military Committee conference.