Estonian and Polish Ministers of Defence Jüri Luik and Mariusz Blaszczak met over a video link to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on defence and the upcoming topics of NATO Defence Ministers meeting set to take place in June. Minister Luik thanked Poland for its contribution to the Baltic Air Policing Mission.
Both ministers emphasised that, despite the spread of the virus, security threats to the alliance and the region have not changed, which is why it is necessary to maintain the strength of NATO's deterrence and the readiness of NATO forces.
‘The spread of the virus has not changed our geopolitical location nor the conventional threats we face, meaning that defence spending, which has only recently begun to rise in Europe, cannot be undermined and must be maintained in absolute terms’, said defence minister Luik, according to whom it is important that defence investments by NATO allies do not fall as a result of the crisis.
The Ministers of Defence also discussed defence cooperation between Estonia and Poland. Minister of Defence Luik thanked Poland for its contribution to the Baltic Air Policing Mission, during the course of which Polish F-16 fighters completed their first rotation at Ämari Air Base in Estonia from January to the end of April. Previously Poland has carried out the Baltic Air Policing Mission from the Siauliai Air Base, in Lithuania, on seven occasions. ‘Poland is an important ally for Estonia, with whom we share a common threat assessment and who actively contributes to NATO’s deterrence and defence capabilities’, added Luik.
Estonia cooperates actively with Poland in defence, in addition to Poland’s contribution to the Baltic Air Policing Mission and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Poland also participates in the Baltic Defence College and the NATO Force Integration Unit, in Estonia. Furthermore, Estonian and Polish soldiers have served together on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Poland has also actively participated in the Estonian Defence Forces large-scale training exercises Siil (Hedgehog) and Kevadtorm (Spring Storm).
Meeting of Estonian and Polish Ministers of Defence in December 2019: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kaitseministeerium_mod_estonia/albums/72157714367018157/with/49912952677/
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