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DefMin Pevkur: Happy Estonian Independence Day!

24. February 2024 - 9:44
Hanno Pevkur
Hanno Pevkur
Dear friends, allies, partners, here in Estonia and abroad,
Two years ago the world changed on our Independence Day – on February 24, Russia launched a full scale war of aggression against Ukraine. For two years now, our focus has been on two main lines of action – supporting Ukraine and strengthening our own defence.
Estonia’s total military aid to Ukraine is nearly €500 million – more than 1.3% of our GDP. Our pledges of supporting Ukraine ‘as long as it takes’ only go halfway – we must be ready to add ‘as much as it takes’ for Ukraine to win. We are not in war, we cannot be tired.
We cannot choose our neighbors, but we can, we have and we will continue to make sure that Ukraine will be a safe place to live. And we will continue to do everything we must to esnure our home as a safe place to live. Today, Estonia is protected better than it has ever been. Estonia’s national defence budget is well above 3% of GDP and will remain so for the years to come.
And we have our allies here with us. I would like to thank each and every officer, serviceman, and specialist from the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and Iceland, who is contributing to the security of NATO’s eastern flank here in Estonia. 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 close ones are welcomed, appreciated and valued here for the important work they do every day.   
Happy Estonian Independence Day!
Hanno Pevkur
Minister of Defence