On Monday, 6 June Prime Minister Kaja Kallas met with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson. After the meeting, the prime ministers made a joint statement which focused on the multifaceted defence cooperation of Estonia and the United Kingdom and on the need to take a clear step towards strengthening NATO’s position of defence and deterrence.
According to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Russia’s war in Ukraine has thoroughly changed Europe’s security. “The threat that Russia poses is not gone,” said Kallas, “and NATO must adapt in the new security environment.” Kallas and Johnson agreed that NATO must change its fundamental defence and deterrence position on the east wing and specific decisions regarding this matter must be taken at the NATO Summit in Madrid.
“We need stronger, highly prepared forces with functioning NATO management structures to defend Estonia,” noted Kallas. “We agreed with Prime Minister Johnson that Estonia and the United Kingdom will collaborate on establishing a division-level management structure in Estonia.” More specific details will be established for the NATO Summit in Madrid.
Kallas emphasised that there is already a larger presence of allies in Estonia and we have significantly raised our defence costs ourselves. “We are thankful to every British soldier serving in Estonia,” she added. “However, it is clear that as the aggression has reached NATO’s immediate border, we must definitely show not only NATO’s will, but also its capability of defending every centimetre of its allies’ territory,” explained Kallas. “NATO with its defence position must send the aggressor a clear signal: ‘Do not approach, I will shoot. Do not even think about approaching.’”
Kallas also added that defence cooperation in all formats is important for the security of our region. “Here, I would also emphasise the cooperation with the United Kingdom within the UK Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF),” Kallas said.
In their discussion about Ukraine, the prime ministers acknowledged that Ukraine does not have time to wait and the free world must act decisively. “Ukraine must win this war and the aggressor must lose,” Kallas emphasised. The prime minister added that Estonia and the United Kingdom are among the biggest supporters of Ukraine. “We understand what is at stake,” said the prime minister. “Right now, the thing Ukraine needs the most is guns, in order to fight against the aggressor and to liberate their territory.”
Kallas and Johnson both emphasised that we will never stop supporting Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. “We must continue disabling Putin’s war machine and isolating war criminals in every way. Putin and all those who have committed war brutalities must know that their judgement day is coming,” Kallas said. “We also need to refrain from premature calls for a truce or peace. Russia has not changed its objectives. Badly negotiated peace for Ukraine would mean bad peace for all of us because the aggressor would return sooner or later,” she added.
In addition to the defence cooperation, the prime ministers also emphasised in their joint statement the importance of continuous development of economic and business contacts between Estonia and the United Kingdom. Kallas and Johnson also emphasised furthering partnership in the field of technology and digital cooperation, including the establishment of the EU headquarters for the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA).
Joint statement of Kallas and Johnson: https://valitsus.ee/en/news/joint-statement-leaders-estonia-and-united-kingdom
Photos from the meeting: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzTa6m