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Pevkur in Warsaw: freedom is not free

4. October 2023 - 16:06

Having participated yesterday and today at the Warsaw Security Forum, Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur stressed the importance of maintaining unity in support of Ukraine and enhancing Europe’s defence capability in light of the current security situation.

“We must maintain unity. As long as we can do so, we can outlast Putin and support Ukraine until the war is won. The talk of war fatigue in the West is part of Russia’s attempt at influencing opinions and Putin’s bluff – our message is clear: we are not tired, our unity and support will not falter, we will support Ukraine to the victorious end of the war,” said Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur.

On the topic of defence spending, the minister of defence added, “Estonia’s defence spending next year will be 3.2% of the gross domestic product and will remain above 3% in the long term. Raising the defence budget by 1% of the GDP has been difficult, but we cannot choose our neighbours – Russia was, is and will remain our greatest threat. Currently, 11 NATO countries invest more than 2% in defence. By the time of the NATO Summit in 2024, perhaps two thirds of the Allies will have achieved this goal. However, the security situation demands that we all invest more in defence and without delay, because freedom is not free,” explained Minister of Defence Pevkur.

On the sidelines of the conference, Minister of Defence Pevkur met with Dutch Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollengren and Swedish Defence Minister Pål Jonson to discuss possibilities for defence cooperation. The Estonian Minister of Defence also addressed the participants of the New Security Leaders programme at the Warsaw Security Forum, and met with representatives of the defence industry.

In addition, Minister of Defence Pevkur met with Colonel Michał Małyska, Commander of the 3rd Brigade of the Polish Territorial Defence Forces, which is the main cooperation partner of the Estonian Defence League, with whom he discussed the possibilities for further deepening cooperation between the Defence League and the Polish Territorial Defence Forces.

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Photos: Warsaw Security Forum 2023 (3–4 October 2023) | Flickr