Friends and allies!
Exactly one year ago, on February 24th, we woke up to a different world. On the day Estonia celebrates its independence day, Russia began a full-scale attack on Ukraine. Our history books and the stories of our parents and grandparents kept us vigilant and taught us to keep up our defences, to appreciate the value of independence.
Now, as we focused on building our self-defence capabilities and sending all possible aid to Ukraine, we also learned that when tested, Allied relations are stronger than ever. Our Allies promised stronger forward defence in Madrid, and you have delivered. Thank you to all the Allied forces here with us today – from the United Kingdom, United States, France, Denmark and Iceland. Thank you to the countries deploying to the Baltic Air Policing mission to secure our skies. And thank you to your families at home.
Your contributions towards securing the eastern wing of NATO today are changing the history books of tomorrow.
Happy Estonian Independence Day!
Minister of Defence