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Estonian President: NATO not preparing for war

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid says that NATO is not preparing for conflict, but is creating the level of deterrence it deems necessary in the current situation. During a state visit to Helsinki on Tuesday, Kaljulaid called for more dialogue to dispel the notion that NATO’s recent activities in the Baltic area are in any way out of the ordinary.

Kersti Kaljulaid ja Sauli Niinistö.
Estonian President Kersti Kaljujaid met with her Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö on Tuesday. Image: Yle

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has called for greater communication to put an end to perceptions that the NATO military alliance is engaged in some kind of exceptional operation in the Baltic region. She described NATO’s actions as normal preparedness, not preparations for conflict.

"I am only worried about one thing, communication. In recent months, many people have got the impression that there is something out of the ordinary going on in the Baltic area. On the other hand, we see that NATO as an organisation that upholds the peace is creating the deterrent that it believes is necessary in the current situation," she said.

"All the same, for some reason the notion has spread worldwide that now we may be preparing for something darker. This is absolutely not the case. We have to get this message through," the President said.

Kaljulaid arrived in Finland on Tuesday for a state visit, accompanied by her husband Georgi-Rene Maksimovsk. She met first with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, before discussions with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Parliamentary Speaker Maria Lohela.

NATO offers a sense of security

Kaljulaid and Niinistö discussed multilateral cooperation in digital projects as well as security matters. Both applauded the message of the US government at a security conference in Munich last month, pledging that there would be no major changes in the cross-Atlantic relationship.

They also stressed the importance of cooperation within the European Union, noting that no single country had the resources to address current security challenges.

Kaljulaid said that NATO’s decision to step up its presence in the Baltic region and in Eastern Europe has provided a sense of security.

"We feel safe because of NATO’s decision. And we know that the US will retain a leading role in NATO. So we are quite calm," she added.

She stressed that the military alliance’s decisions are based on a 360-degree perspective as well as comprehensive situation analysis.

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