At the Northern Group defence ministers’ meeting yesterday in Legionowo, Poland, Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur stressed that Russia is capable of restoring its pre-war status in our region within a matter of years, so it is important to support Ukraine consistently and vigorously, because Ukraine’s victory strengthens security for us all.
“The Russian Federation openly calls into question the legitimacy and territorial integrity of the Baltic States and consistently tries to divide our societies by means of hybrid warfare,” said Minister of Defence Pevkur.
“Russia continues to occupy 18% of Ukraine’s territory, 110,000 square kilometres. Western military assistance to Ukraine must continue, and we are capable of providing that assistance. The European Union has spent 44 times more on post-pandemic recovery measures and 34 times more to alleviate the energy crisis than it has on providing the means to win the war,” Pevkur continued.
The meeting of the Northern Group focused on the security threats in north-eastern Europe and positions for the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius. Member States shared the view that further military assistance to Ukraine in the fight against Russia’s illegal and brutal aggression is crucial. The defence ministers also agreed that the main objective of the Vilnius Summit is to increase the security of the region through further strengthening deterrence and defence.
“Increased defence spending and wise defence investments will help ensure that we possess the capabilities and stocks we need. In the near future, total expenditure of 2% of GDP on defence could become obligatory for NATO Member States, but we must set the goal for defence spending by NATO Member States to at least 2.5% by 2030,” said Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur.
The Northern Group is a defence cooperation format that brings together 12 Baltic and North Sea countries – Estonia, the Netherlands, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. The focus of the Northern Group is on the regional security situation in Northern Europe and the Arctic. The format was established in 2010, under the leadership of the United Kingdom. Poland will serve as the chair of the group for the first half of this year, with Sweden leading the cooperation format in the second half of the year.
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