Skip to content
Edit post

Estonian PM: Russia provoked by weakness, not strength

by Abbey Fenbert and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 12, 2024 7:13 AM 3 min read
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas speaks to reporters in Brussels, Belgium, on Dec. 15, 2023. (Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

Ukraine's Western allies must commit to victory over Russia and not fall into "traps" laid by the Kremlin, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in a Feb. 11 interview with the Austrian news outlet Der Standard.

Kallas has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion in early 2022.

"We should not fall into the various traps that have been set," Kallas said when questioned about the war in Ukraine.

"It is a mistake to believe that the war can be won quickly. Russia is preparing for a long period of war. The war will continue until Russia realizes that it cannot win."

Kallas's strong words of support come as doubts rise regarding the long-term stability of Western aid to Ukraine.

Political turmoil in Washington, D.C. has frozen U.S. aid to Ukraine for months, delaying urgently-needed funds as the country enters its third year at war. A Nordic-Baltic delegation, including representatives from Estonia, recently visited the U.S. to advocate for continued financial support from Congress.

Border concerns take over after Trump’s primary victories, Ukraine aid in question
Former President Donald Trump’s commanding primary victories have brought the race to the brink of a rematch with President Joe Biden, and caused concern that aid for Ukraine is not a priority for Republicans.

According to Kallas, Ukraine's international partners must believe that victory is possible.

"We are stronger, but we must help Ukraine defend itself and give it what it needs. ... Russia wants us to believe that Ukraine cannot win, so that we stop supporting it," she said.

One "trap" that Kallas urged allies to avoid is the belief that negotiations with Russia will lead to a lasting peace. Another is fear that defending Ukraine will only provoke Moscow further and lead to escalating conflict.

"The opposite is true," Kallas said. "It is weakness, not strength, that provokes Russia."

Other European leaders have also intensified their rhetoric in support of Ukraine amid the U.S. funding crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Jan. 30 that Europe must be ready to defeat Russia no matter what American politicians decide. Finland's president-elect Alexander Stubb has called for unconditional NATO support for Ukraine.

Estonia remains one of Ukraine's staunchest allies. During the full-scale war, it has provided Kyiv with financial assistance worth nearly 500 million euros — more than 1.4% of its GDP.

Ukraine and Estonia also agreed on Feb. 8 to start negotiations on a bilateral security agreement.

Estonian PM: ‘Our taxpayers shouldn’t pay for damages caused by Russia’
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Estonia has been one of Ukraine’s most reliable allies since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion. A small Baltic country of just 1.3 million people that also shares a border with Russia, Estonia has provided

According to Kallas, one "trap" to avoid is the belief that negotiations with Russia will lead to a lasting peace.

Before you skip this banner, we want to tell you something…

The Kyiv Independent doesn’t depend on a wealthy owner or an oligarch — in 2023, 80% of our revenue was from reader contributions . It’s thanks to them that we don’t have to rely on a single owner.

Support us now and help maintain our independent model and keep our articles free for everyone. Your contributions allow us to cover journalists’ salaries, report from the front lines, and fund projects like our War Crimes Investigations Unit.

visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

12:22 AM  (Updated: )

Source: Investigators preparing to charge anti-corruption activist Shabunin.

Shabunin, who joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine as a volunteer at the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022 and has served since then, denied the accusations and said the cases were fabricated. He believes the cases to be a political vendetta against him by the President's Office, including President Volodymyr Zelensky's deputy chief of staff Oleh Tatarov.
Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
1:35 AM

CNN: Allies debating what commitment to give Ukraine on NATO membership.

The United States and allies are debating what to commit to Ukraine's NATO membership at the upcoming 75th anniversary summit in Washington, CNN reported on June 19. U.S. officials are reportedly facing criticism from European countries for not willing to go as far as countries closer to Russia would prefer.
10:14 PM

Ukraine restores ferry service with Georgia.

The sea voyage from the city of Chernomorsk in Ukraine's Odesa Oblast to Batumi in Georgia will be the first between the countries since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.
8:15 PM

EU, Ukraine finalize text of security deal.

The EU is expected to join 16 countries, including the U.S., Japan, U.K., Germany, and France, that have signed similar bilateral treaties to help Kyiv repel Russia's aggression.
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.