Estonian defense minister: If the Baltics fall, Berlin will be next
Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur has expressed a stark warning: if the Baltic countries were to fall, Berlin would likely be the next target. Pevkur discussed Estonia's perspective on the perceived threat from Russia and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine in an interview with the German publication Merkur.
Highlighting Estonia's acquisition of new military equipment, including HIMARS, howitzers, armored vehicles, and drones, Pevkur emphasized that such investments benefit Europe as a whole. He bluntly stated, "I'm sorry to have to say it like this, but if the Baltic states fall, Berlin will be next."
Pevkur stressed the importance of learning from the conflict in Ukraine and explained the rationale behind Estonia's decision to increase defense spending beyond 3 percent in the coming years. He asserted, "We must do everything we can to prevent a Russian attack. That's why we are relying on deterrence."
While some may view Estonia's stance as exaggerated, Merkur acknowledged that it could prove to be accurate. The article also highlighted Estonia's substantial support for Ukraine, including the acceptance of tens of thousands of refugees.
In addition to Pevkur, the magazine interviewed Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna. Kallas acknowledged that, given the circumstances, investing in defense is the most reasonable course of action, even though she would prefer allocating funds elsewhere.
Concerns were raised about Europe's potential fatigue in assisting Kyiv, with the prime minister noting, "Russia hopes it can endure the pain much longer than we can." Merkur questioned whether NATO would risk a conflict with Russia to save Estonia, emphasizing the need to strengthen deterrence and provide more support to Kyiv.
Tsahkna underscored the significance of Ukraine's fight and called for putting an end to Russia's aggression, emphasizing the opportunity to dismantle what he described as an aggressive regime. However, he clarified that the decision for regime change ultimately lies with the Russian people.
In a resolute statement, Tsahkna declared, "We are ready to fight," expressing a historical perspective that underscores the cautionary approach to dealings with the East.