TALLINN - At a meeting in Rome on Monday ahead of the NATO Madrid summit, Estonian Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet and his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Guerrini discussed strengthening NATO's eastern flank, supporting Ukraine, regional security and bilateral cooperation.
"The aggression of the Russian Federation against the independent state of Ukraine has fundamentally changed the security environment in the whole of Europe -- we have to strengthen the defense and deterrence posture at NATO's eastern flank. In addition, we must support Ukraine until its independence and territorial integrity are fully restored," said Laanet.
In the changed security environment, NATO's southern flank also perceives the need for close cooperation with allies.
"Italy and Estonia have close cooperation ties in the area of defense technology development. Specifically in the defense industry and within the framework of international projects there are many perspectives for future cooperation," added Laanet.
During his visit, Laanet also met with Gianluca Rizzo, president of defense commission of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and visited the headquarters of the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation Irini.
Italy is an active member of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) and a participant in the recently launched Cyber Ranges Federation (CRF). Italy has contributed to the Baltic air policing mission and Estonia, in turn, to the operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI.