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The President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas made a statement on the 26th anniversary of the withdrawal of the Russian troops, saying that for Estonia this also meant the termination of World War II and the end of the more than 50-year presence of occupation forces.

“Today we have reason to be happy and celebrate the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Estonia. However, having learned from history, which the Kremlin is trying to rewrite, and considering the reality of today and the intense international situation, we must be in heightened readiness to defend our freedom and independence unconditionally,” Põlluaas said. “We are a member of the NATO, we are no longer alone like we were when the Soviet occupation forces marched into Estonia. Estonia will never again surrender.”

The President of the Riigikogu added that thanks to Estonia’s determination, Russia’s economic collapse, and a strong pressure from the West, particularly USA and several international organisations, the troops had been finally withdrawn. By that time, Russian troops had already been withdrawn from Eastern Europe; Estonia was the last of the Baltic states to see the troops leave.

The President of the Riigikogu has seen no change in the geopolitical ambitions of the Kremlin, or in its relations with neighbouring countries. “They have publicly declared their intention to restore the Soviet Union era empire and spheres of influence. All this is clear from the military aggressions in Georgia and Ukraine, the occupation and annexation of Crimea, and the military bases in several former Soviet republics or countries of the so-called socialist block. And of course from interfering in domestic matters of other countries,” Põlluaas said. 

The last Russian units left Estonia on 31 August 1994. This completed the process of the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Estonia. This meant that the occupation, which had started in June 1940, was finally over.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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