In his speech, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik – who is today’s keynote speaker at the Lennart Meri Conference – reminded listeners that Russia’s tools in fracturing unity between Western countries are not limited to the dissemination of false information or cyberattacks, since the threat of military conflict still remains.
Drawing parallels with what Lennart Meri said, ‘The thing about experiences is that they can only be found in the past', Minister of Defence Luik emphasised that in order to understand the steps that Russia will take, one must understand its past.
Luik emphasised that the hybrid techniques being employed by Russia must not make Western countries forget that significant parts of Ukraine and Georgia remain annexed and the military conflict in Ukraine continues. He cited the development of Russia’s military capabilities as being a clear sign that our neighbour to the East has no desire to plans to stop with the use of words as weapons.
‘In the past few years Russia has multiplied funding intended for the development and modernisation of its armaments, with Moscow paying particular attention to the digitisation of armament systems, and the development of a new generation of armaments,' said Luik.
According to Luik, we can clearly see that development near Estonia, along NATO’s eastern border. As an example, he cited the increased size of the Pskov Air Assault Division, as mentioned in the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service’s yearbook, which shows that military development in the direction of the West is Russia's priority and preparations for possible military hostilities are underway.
In his speech, Luik emphasised that there is a ‘treatment’ for Russia’s expansionist objectives – unity of the Western world. According to Luik, it is this unity that is the target of our Eastern neighbour, since internal Western discord is viewed as an advantage.
‘Doubting the fundamental principles on which the European Union and NATO have agreed is not a smart thing to do. We all understand that the current situation in the West is much more complicated than it was even five years ago, but instead of dividing us, it should instead serve to unify us and mobilise us,’ said Luik.
As an example of unity, Luik cited the recently completed Spring Storm training exercise, in which Estonia and 17 of its allies participated with 9000 soldiers. According to Luik, this training exercise showed that we are working together with our allies, based on joint plans and taking it seriously – together.
The full speech of Jüri Luik (28.04 KB, DOCX)
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