HIMARS and air defense for Tallinn: interview with Estonia’s Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur

The Baltic can become an inland sea for NATO. The integration of the anti-missile defense of Finland and Estonia will make it possible to close the Gulf of Finland to Russian warships. Such a decision will help protect Estonia, Finland and other NATO countries from Russian aggression. Also in Estonia, they are discussing the strengthening of air defense and the need for HIMARS missile systems. Estonian Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur spoke about this in an interview with UA TV channel.

Estonia and Finland have decided to unify their coastal defenses after NATO enlargement. Why will it be done?

There will be the integration of the two systems because we all understand that the length of the Gulf of Finland is 80 km. Russian missile systems can reach the shores of both countries.

That is, it can be argued that after the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, the Baltic will become the inland sea of ​​the Alliance?

In fact, it will. But, of course, according to international acts, these are international waters that Russia can use.

How will Russia react to this? They, most likely, realize what entry into NATO of two more European countries means for them.

The Kremlin understands that if they were at war with Ukraine, then Sweden and Finland could take these steps. Now they have done it.

Estonia understands that it is on the verge of risk, and now it is already thinking about building up weapons. What weapons are we talking about?

There are a lot of projects. We hope that the HIMARS system will come to Estonia. We are talking about the fact that in the near future the government will certainly make a decision about air defense. And, of course, there are many other decisions that I still cannot predict today.

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Next week, Estonia will close entry to citizens of the Russian Federation who have a Schengen visa issued by the country. What is it for? Do the Russians pose a threat to the defense of Estonia?

We can make sanctions even more effective. Of course, among Russians, there are people with different opinions. There are many people who support Putin, and the war against Ukraine. But there are some people who disagree with this.

But we all must understand that Russia is still a country in which Putin is now responsible for everything.

And what about those who have a Schengen visa issued outside of Estonia? Will Europe follow the Prime Minister’s call to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians? What do you think?

We hope so. We already see that some countries have taken the appropriate decision. Some have also made such technical limitations. People understand why these decisions were made here, in Estonia, in Latvia, and for sure this issue will be discussed in various instances of the European Union.

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