Latvia, Estonia stress joint approach on defense and Ukraine

It was all smiles between Latvia and Estonia November 8 during a visit north to Tallinn by Prime Minister Evika Siliņa during a working visit to Estonia. 

Both Siliņa and her host Kaja Kallas stressed the close cooperation of the Baltic neighbors in such areas as economy, security and defense, energy, traffic and transport, as well as education and culture.

At the joint press conference of the heads of government of the two countries, Siliņa also said that Latvia and Estonia tend to act together within the European Union and in support of Ukraine.

You can see the full press conference of the two leaders below, in English translation.

In the fields of security and defense, the countries have the closest cooperation, for example, by joint procurement of air defense systems from Germany. 

In the field of energy, the head of the Latvian government highlighted the agreement of the Baltic states on the desynchronization of electricity networks. Also discussed was the topic of damage to gas and communication connections in the Baltic Sea, as well as cooperation in the use of Estonia's Paldiski liquefied natural gas terminal in a potential crisis situation. 

Siliņa also emphasized that the giant Inčukalns gas storage facility in Latvia is almost full and can provide supplies to the region, including Estonia.

Evika Siliņa visits Estonia, November 2023
Evika Siliņa visits Estonia, November 2023

The heads of government agreed on the need to strengthen sanctions against Russia and the fight against sanctions evasion. Likewise, work must continue to ensure that Russia bears full responsibility for the crimes of its aggression in Ukraine.

The Prime Minister emphasized that, in preparation for the NATO summit in Washington, USA, in 2024, it is important to actively work on the implementation of regional defense plans, including strengthening NATO's air defense. It is also important that Sweden joins NATO as soon as possible, she said.

Both Prime Ministers welcomed the advance of Ukraine's and Moldova's EU membership aspirations.

Defense Ministers also meet

Latvian Defense Minister Andris Spruds was also visiting Estonia on a working visit to Estonia Wednesday, where he too met his counterpart.

"Today, we discussed practical cooperation in strengthening the external border of NATO and the European Union with the Minister of Defense of Estonia, Hanno Pevkur. We will announce the joint plans at the meeting of defense ministers of the Baltic states in Latvia. We will also continue the support of both countries to Ukraine, while also developing the development capabilities of the Baltic region," Sprūds said after the meeting.

"During the last two years, Estonia and Latvia have strongly supported Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor. We know very well that freedom is priceless. Together with Latvia, we are significantly strengthening both bilateral and regional cooperation," Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said.

He also thanked Latvia for the fact that during the renovation of Estonia's Amari air force base, Latvia will host a Baltic airspace patrol mission at its Lielvārde airbase.  


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