Kaljulaid: Covid-19 crisis has not weakened Baltic defense

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Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid was in Latvia March 2 and took the opportunity to give an English-language interview to LTV.

Among a general review of the situation in Estonia, which is currently experiencing a surge in cases of the coronavirus, Kaljulaid described how she believes the Baltic states' readiness to defend themselves has not been impacted.

"On the question about whether our army will fight if it has fever, yes it will," Kaljulaid laughed.

"We have to say that the only part of national movement that has been happening more or less, with all the safety precautions and so on, has been our military cooperation.

In the context of EFP [NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence] I only yesterday spoke with the chief of the Estonian Defense Forces, General Herem and he told [me] that masses of soldiers have been moving back and forth between Estonia and Latvia to exercise together, even during the pandemic, of course with all the security measures, tests, rapid tests, that are available to us, but we have been able to seee and to demonstrate that we do not forget the necessity to deter, to be always ready to fight tonight. This is the best deterrence, as we all know."

"I think we have pretty well divided our attention between the acute crisis and the general security picture and situation," Kaljulaid said.

She also said that she has yet to be vaccinated herself, as she is waiting her turn in line, but a forthcoming NATO meeting will require all attendees to have been vaccinated, so that might force her to be vaccinated earlier if she is to attend.

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