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Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas at the Matthiae meal: "We didn't keep our promises"

Photo: Fabian Bimmer / AFP

Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has clearly called on the West to provide broader support for Ukraine: "My people and I observe with a certain concern how little attention is paid to what is currently brewing in the vastness of Russia," said Kallas at the traditional Matthiae- Mahl in Hamburg, which was also attended by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. "From a subjective point of view, it is understandable that the collapse of the Soviet Union triggered a sense of triumph in the West," Kallas added. It is also understandable that they initially relied on reform forces in Russia. "However, this attitude has put the West in danger of wishful thinking," warned Kallas.

"We have to be brutally honest with ourselves - just as Russia is still bombing Ukrainian cities and marching through their towns and villages, we have not kept our promises," the head of government continued about the situation in Ukraine. Kyiv is running out of ammunition. Long-term commitments are important, but it is also a fact that the side that has more ammunition wins.

»Together we can help Ukraine win this war. We have the resources, the economic power, the expertise,” said Kallas. The strength of the West outweighs that of Russia. »Let us not be afraid of our own power.«

Kallas has ruled Estonia since 2021. She has been on a Russian wanted list since last week because Estonia demolished a Soviet war memorial in Narva on the border with Russia in the summer of 2022, a few months after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

»One day we will win, no matter what happens«

Kallas said that at the Munich Security Conference last weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rightly asked why Putin could still continue the war. “We have to answer this question – not just with words, but also with actions.” She lacked the certainty of victory in Munich. Estonia's mantra during the "Singing Revolution" was: "One day we will win, no matter what happens." That should now be at the top.

Defense is not an escalation, resistance does not provoke Russia, weakness does, said Kallas. She is repeatedly asked what Russian President Vladimir Putin would do if he lost. "My answer: We should be more worried about what he will do if Russia wins." It is time to end the gray areas of security in Europe. "The future of Ukraine lies in NATO and the EU."

30 years ago, the first Estonian President Lennart Meri also warned against Russian expansion plans at the Matthiae meal. “The deputy mayor of Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin, was among the guests in this hall at the time,” said Kallas. In response to President Meri's speech, he did something that had never been done before at the Matthiae meal. "He stood up abruptly and left" - with angry steps and a contemptuous look in the direction of his host.