Russia's war against Ukraine will intensify economic and political cooperation between Eastern European countries.
The Presidents of Poland, Latvia and Estonia were convinced of this at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The three countries belong to the Three Seas Initiative launched in 2016, in which a total of sixteen countries in Eastern and Southeastern Europe have come together.
The name of the initiative refers to the Baltic Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea, between which the member states lie.
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"The war has given the initiative additional significance, not least with regard to energy security," said Poland's President Andrzej Duda.
"Networking among the members has enabled Poland to be independent of gas supplies from Russia."
Duda also pointed to cross-border infrastructure projects that allowed Poland to develop economically weaker regions located in the east of the country.
"The region feels connected not only by geography, but also by common experiences and goals," noted Latvian President Egils Levits.
"This is not only important for us, but also for Ukraine and for the whole of Europe. Measured in terms of economic output, we provide the most significant aid to Ukraine. Poland alone has taken in more refugees since the outbreak of war than all European countries combined during the refugee crisis 2015."
The initiative has an economic basis, but is also supported by political commitment.
Because of the war, Eastern Europe gets more attention.
"The importance of external security in Europe has grown. NATO's eastern flank must be further strengthened," emphasized Levits.
"Not strength, but weakness is a provocation for Russia. Russia is an aggressive state that must be deterred. NATO's strength is the basis of security throughout Europe. This is peace policy."
Duda was at least as clear about the war in Ukraine.
"I hope that Ukraine will win this war," said the Polish President.
"We know Russian imperialism from our own experience. We know about the Russian invasion, Russian terror and Russian occupation. You have to stop Russia."
Ukraine can count on support.
In economic terms, the war could initially delay investment projects in Eastern Europe, but Estonian President Alar Karis does not expect any long-term damage, not least since the United States has shown interest in the region for years.
"We form a single market with 112 people. Our economy is dynamic; our populations aspire to Western European living standards," said Karis.
Estonia's President emphasized that there must be life with Russia after the war.
"Russia will remain a neighbor," Karis stated matter-of-factly.
"We have no interest in completely isolating Russia, because then they might attack again."
Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to see how a prosperous relationship with Russia could develop.Keywords: