Baltic states and Germany pledge long-term support for Ukraine

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The Prime Ministers of the Baltic states gathered in Tallinn, Estonia May 26 to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The heads of government discussed cooperation in the field of security and defense and preparations for the NATO summit in Vilnius in July this year. 

Support for Ukraine and holding Russia accountable for its crimes committed in Ukraine were stressed by all four leaders at a joint press conference, which can be seen below.

Playing host, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said "Our strength is our unity" and warned that "Without accountability, Russia’s cycle of violence will never stop." Historically, Russian leaders have never had to face accountability for their crimes and atrocities, and this must change, Kallas stressed.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz noted that Germany has so far sent more than 17 billion euros of aid to Ukraine, including a recent package worth 2.7 billion euros, and was keen to underline how serious Germany is about continuing that aid and committing to the defense of NATO member states. 

"We are ready to defend every inch of NATO territory against attack… I mean what I say," Scholz said. "We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine. We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes. Russia has to realise that this war is pointless."

Latvia's Krišjānis Kariņš adopted the line that liberal democracies had been reminded that "We have to be strong not only in our moral conviction but also militarily... What Putin has done over the last year is probably not what he expected – to make us stronger."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Ministers of the Baltic States
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Ministers of the Baltic States

He also said Latvia intends to raise defense spending to 3% of GDP and backed the notion that NATO members should be bound to spend at least 2% of GDP. Kariņš warned that all allies of Ukraine in the EU and NATO need to "remain 100% committed" and be prepared to provide long-term support.

"Ukraine should and must become a member of NATO. The reason is very simple – that’s the only way to ensure that Russia will never restart a war once this is over," he stated.

Lithuania's Ingrida Šimonyte said: "Russia is preparing for a long-term confrontation… we do not have the luxury of taking incremental steps," and said Russia's decision to deploy nuclear missiles in Belarus will not change the unity or behavior of allies.

"We will not be intimidated," she declared, while adding that the entire eastern border of the EU and NATO with Russia and Belarus should be reinforced with both ground and air defenses.

 

 

 

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