Prime Minister Kallas visits Ukraine: Estonia believes in Ukraine’s victory and future in the EU and NATO

Prime Minister Kallas visits Ukraine: Estonia believes in Ukraine’s victory and future in the EU and NATO

On 24 April, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas visited Ukraine. It was the first foreign visit of her new term in office. PM Kallas met with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Zhytomyr. During their meeting they signed a joint declaration.

“This is my first foreign visit as the head of the new Estonian government. I came here with a clear message that we believe in Ukraine’s victory, and we believe in Ukraine, which is a prosperous liberal democracy and a free market economy that belongs to the Euro-Atlantic family,” Kaja Kallas said at a press conference after the meeting.

“We remain committed to helping Ukraine win its war for freedom.”

Kallas expressed hope that one of the first decisions of her new government to send Ukraine artillery shells will inspire other countries to quickly implement the EU initiative, proposed by Estonia, to procure one million artillery shells for Ukraine.

The Estonian Prime Minister emphasized that assistance with weapons, ammunition, and training for the Ukrainian military should continue on a sufficient scale to ensure that Ukraine wins this war.

“That is why I proposed to the European Union a joint purchase of artillery shells for Ukraine to send them directly. The decision was made in March, and now we need to make sure that it is properly implemented,” Kaja Kallas added.

The Prime Minister noted that last week the Estonian government approved a decision to send artillery shells to Ukraine.

“We believe in your victory. We believe in a prosperous Ukraine with liberal democracy, a free market economy and a membership in the Euro-Atlantic community. Your struggle, your sacrifices have clearly shown that the way to peace is to eliminate gray areas in European security,” she said.

“As President Zelenskyy has said, freedom must be better armed than tyranny. This is our common motto. Therefore, the aid focuses on weapons, ammunition and training – there must be enough for Ukraine to win the war,” Kallas emphasised.

Welcoming the head of the Estonian government to Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that Kaja Kallas is a true leader and defender of “our common European freedom”.

“If each of the leaders and each of the states had been as conscientious about protecting our common freedom on the continent, Russia’s aggression would have already suffered an obvious defeat,” the President said during a conversation with media representatives following the talks with Kaja Kallas in Zhytomyr.

President Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister and the entire Estonian people for the sincere and extremely timely support of Ukraine’s defense.

“On a per capita basis, Estonia‘s defense assistance for us is one of the largest in the world. Ukraine appreciates every piece of weaponry that Estonia has given us. I would especially like to note Estonia’s decision to transfer all of its 122-mm and 155-mm howitzers. I thank Estonia and you personally, Prime Minister, for the initiative on joint European direct procurement of weapons and ammunition, which envisages the provision of one million 155-mm shells to Ukraine by EU members,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy also thanked Estonia for its assistance in treatment, prosthetics and rehabilitation of injured Ukrainian warriors. In addition, Estonia has already provided the third military mobile hospital for prompt medical assistance at the front.

The President of Ukraine also praised cooperation with Estonia in cybersecurity.

“Ukrainians will always remember how important your support has become. Estonia can rest assured that our Ukrainian victory in this war will be a reliable guarantee of a historic outcome for all the nations of Europe, including the Estonian people. After our victory, Russian revanchism will never again break the life of any person in Europe,” Zelenskyy stressed.

In the joint declaration signed after the meeting, Kaja Kallas and Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasise that a strong, independent and prosperous Ukraine is essential for European security as a member of the EU and NATO.

“Today we discussed our expectations from the NATO Summit in Vilnius. Now is the time when the Alliance needs ambitious decisions. Reliable security in Europe can only be based on full certainty in the relations on NATO’s eastern flank, especially in the relations between Ukraine and NATO. We need a positive political decision of the Alliance on Ukraine’s accession, and I am grateful to Estonia for supporting such a strengthening of NATO and for fixing our common goal in the declaration we signed,” the President noted.

“Your struggle, your losses and your sacrifices have made this crystal clear: the path to lasting peace is to end grey zones in European security. NATO and EU enlargement have increased stability – our region is a living example of this. Therefore, for peace in Europe, we need Ukraine in the European Union, we need Ukraine in NATO,” said the Estonian Prime Minister.

She added that she would like to see Ukraine be able to start accession negotiations with the European Union by the end of the year if all the necessary conditions are met.

Kallas thanked Zelenskyy for inviting her to start the visit in Zhytomyr. “Zhytomyr is the region that Estonia has decided to help to rebuild. We were the first to do so. This is a very clear practical confirmation of our faith in Ukraine and in Ukraine’s victory. Reconstruction is not something which should be left for the future. We need to help Ukraine to start building their future already now,” Kallas said.

The Prime Minister gave the example of the Ovruch kindergarten, the first stage of the construction of which will be completed by 1 June. “I am pleased to announce today that we will be building a second section that will provide childcare places for 80 more children,” Kallas said.

In addition, Estonia supports the reconstruction of the Malyn bridge and participates in the construction of orphanages together with the Olena Zelenska Foundation. According to the Prime Minister, all Estonian projects have been modelled in such a way that partners could easily replicate them elsewhere in Ukraine.

“Reconstruction, together with EU integration and reforms, can provide a significant boost to Ukraine’s economy. Ukraine has the potential to become one of Europe’s most successful economies in the future,” Kallas emphasised.

Prime Minister Kallas also received the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, 2nd Class, from President Zelenskyy, on behalf of the Ukrainian people, for her support to Ukraine.

Later, Kaja Kallas and Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with students of Zhytomyr State Polytechnic University to discuss democracy, resistance to aggression and European integration.


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