LSM.eng offers a brief excerpt from the videotaped conversation with the New Jersey-bred bow-tie wearing Estonian leader, in which he points out that the time for sincere declarations has given way to the need to get together, plan, fund and cooperate on real projects in the spheres of energy infrastructure development, joint defense and transportation.
Foreign journalists ask him one question more than any other – are you afraid that the Russians of Narva might express a desire to join Russia like the separatists of eastern Ukraine have done? Ilves always responds with a firm ‘no’. That’s because a good coalminer in Narva can earn around €2000 a month, while his counterpart in Ukraine’s Donbas region makes only €150 a month, barely a tenth of the wage on the EU’s northeastern frontier in Estonia.
Yet the Estonian President does have his concerns as to whether the international community would come to aid the Baltic states if a foreign force were to invade. He has already condemned his counterparts among other European leaders for waffling on how best to help Ukraine face the veiled but very real war effort Russia is pursuing there. He looks at the situation now in comparison to the post-war period when the western nations watched confusedly as Eastern Europe was re-divided along the Iron Curtain.
Ilvess will elaborate on the reasons for his doubts and what he thinks of Baltic unity tonight on LTV’s Channel 1 at 21:15 Riga time (19:15 GMT).
The interview can be seen in its entirety (in undubbed original English version) HERE.