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Estonian Prime Minister warns of existential threat to Baltic states: we would be wiped off the map

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has warned ahead of a major NATO summit next week of the serious consequences of any future Russian aggression against the Baltic states.

Speaking to reporters in Tallinn on Wednesday, K. Kallas pointed out that NATO’s strategy of defending the three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – as an “explosive” defense, under which the allies would come with reinforcements and would help withdraw the territory only after the Russian invasion, is exceeded in Ukraine.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the Estonian Prime Minister said that the current defense plans would allow Estonia and its people to be wiped off the map, as they plan to allow the Baltic countries to be occupied and then liberated within 180 days.

Recalling the massacre of Russian troops in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, the Estonian prime minister said NATO’s plan to “lose and later liberate” was inappropriate.

“If we compare the size of Ukraine and the Baltic countries, the invasion would mean the complete destruction of our countries, our culture,” Kallas said. “Those of you who have visited Tallinn and are familiar with our old town, its centuries-old history and culture must understand that all of this will be wiped off the map, including our people, our nation.”

The Estonian prime minister spoke ahead of next week’s NATO summit in Madrid, where strengthening the eastern flank in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be the main topic of discussion. NATO officials recognized that the Baltic model was no longer a sufficient form of defense.

Under those plans, the approximately 1,500 foreign troops stationed in the Baltics would serve as a direct line of defense should the attack take place, helping to buy some time for additional NATO reinforcements to join.

The multinational dimension of these battlegroups should add an additional element of deterrence, since if a battlegroup were attacked, several countries would be affected at once.

Kallas’ comments are bolstered by growing tensions between the Baltic states and Russia. The Estonian Defense Ministry reported that Russia imitated missile attacks against the Baltic state during military exercises and that helicopter intrusions into Baltic airspace had been recorded in recent days.

The ‘explosive’ concept doesn’t really work,” Kallas said. “Proper plans have to be in place so that we can defend ourselves with our allies from day one, and the aggressor won’t even think of advancing in our direction.”

Estonia on Wednesday accused Russia of escalating measures ahead of next week’s NATO summit, including alleged rocket flights and airspace violations.

Russia’s threat to Lithuania to restrict rail traffic to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad was also mentioned.

“Currently, there is no direct military threat against Estonia. However, we see that the Russian Federation is stepping up its rhetoric and its actions in view of the Madrid summit,” Thomas Mellis told AFP. spokesperson for the Estonian Ministry of Defence.

“Russia is threatening Lithuania with the implementation of European Union sanctions announced a few months ago, mimicking missile attacks on targets in the Baltic states, Russian Federation helicopters breaching state borders Baltics – all of this overlaps in time and space,” he added. “This escalation in behavior reaffirms that the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid is indeed timely.

He did not provide any details about the above simulated flights or airspace violations.

However, the Estonian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned a Russian ambassador on Tuesday to protest the “totally unacceptable” violation of Estonian airspace on June 18.

“The breach took place in southeastern Estonia, near the Koidula checkpoint, where a Russian helicopter flew over Estonian airspace without permission,” the ministry said in a statement.

Source: The Delfi

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