Estonian PM: NATO Allies Do Not Underestimate Russia

Stenbocki Maja via flickr // CC 2.0

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said the situation in Ukraine is worrying and NATO cannot go along with Russia’s demands. She said allies see things more clearly after the Crimea occupation and do not underestimate the situation.

Speaking during a wide-ranging interview with ERR, Kallas said it is important that everyone senses the danger Russia poses to world security.

“Several NATO and European Union allies have admitted that when Russia attacked Crimea, Ukraine for the first time, they actually underestimated the situation. But this situation is not underestimated and everyone is actually worried,” she said.

“Neither NATO nor the West is negotiating with Russia. We are talking about a dialogue to maintain diplomatic communication, but they are not negotiations. It is not possible to negotiate such absurd conditions,” the prime minister said. “The concentration of Russian forces around Ukraine and all the additional conditions, which have been fulfilled there, point to a very worrying situation.”

Kallas added NATO has continuously asked to hold a council with Russia, which the latter has refused. However, now they are all behind one table.

“The Russian negotiating tactics seem to be creating a problem first and then heroically offering to solve the problem. We cannot go along with this. If you take a step toward dictatorship, the hope of them taking that step back is unreasonable, we cannot give them that space.”

She said Estonia’s decisions to supply Ukrainian forces with significant numbers of artillery and missile systems stems from Estonia’s defenses starting on the borders of Russia and Ukraine.

“If we can help Ukraine, we must do it in other ways than just speaking. We have helped Ukraine in all available manners so far and will continue to do so. I think that is also in the interest of our security,” Kallas said.

Goal of Green Transition Is Growth

Kallas said Reform’s approval ratings have been hit most by the decision to keep society open during the coronavirus pandemic. She added that being in government and having to lead during the crisis is more difficult than being in opposition.

The prime minister responded to a question about the green transition by saying that innovation is Estonia’s advantage.

“The goal of the green transition is still economic growth, that it would bring along well-being without hurting the natural environment. We must see how that can be achieved. All these steps are important, investments into energy, investments into environmentally friendly technologies,” she said.

Kallas noted that Estonian companies go along with technological developments and want to be the first providers of environmentally friendly products and services as this is the desire of the consumers.

She said student companies and young people already focus on environmentally friendly products.

“Young people are already thinking about it and progress upward because consumers want to save the environment and act in a sustainable manner and banks and financing institutions go along with that. They are already saying loans and involving capital will be more expensive for polluting actions and that will be an advantage for all companies already thinking about it,” Kallas said.

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Kaja Kallas
Academy of Liberalism