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Today, NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) passed two declarations urging the member states to provide long-term support to Ukraine, increase defence spending, and loosen the restrictions set against Ukraine using allied weapons to attack military objects on the Russian territory.

The declarations adopted at the plenary sitting focus on the priorities of the upcoming NATO Summit in Washington in July, and the long-term support for Ukraine. Among other things, the members of the Assembly call on the member states to increase their defence spending, recognising the fact that it might be necessary to set the sights higher than the current goal of spending two percent of the GDP on defence. In the declaration on supporting Ukraine, countries are encouraged to speed up the provision of military aid that Ukraine needs to win the war and continue providing long-term help. The members of the Assembly also enjoin the countries who have provided weapons to Ukraine to abandon the restrictions that ban Ukraine from using these weapons to attack military targets in Russia.

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg spoke at the beginning of the Spring Session. The Head of the Estonian Delegation to the NATO PA Raimond Kaljulaid asked Stoltenberg to explain his statement a few days prior, when he spoke against shooting down Russian missiles and drones over Ukraine from the territory of the Western countries, seeing this as a risk of escalating the situation through the intervention of the NATO allies. He also asked the Secretary General’s opinion on the option discussed in individual countries about sending units to Ukraine to help with training, for example. Stoltenberg explained that he did not see the point in discussing steps that did not enjoy the full support of the allies, and repeated his position that the intervention of the NATO countries in the war in Ukraine had the potential of leading to a broader war between NATO and Russia in Europe.

“The positions expressed by Stoltenberg and many other allies show that the fear of escalation continues to play an important role in decision making, and this serves as the basis for drawing red lines this way or that. Throughout the war we have witnessed these red lines being eventually crossed anyway,” Kaljulaid said. “Just recently, the Western countries proved that they were able to successfully defend Israel from missiles and drones launched by Iran—and we are talking about NATO countries here. For some reason, this was not seen as a risk of escalation. It would be interesting to learn what makes Ukraine different and why it cannot receive the same help as Israel.”

At the Spring Session, the representatives of Estonia met the Portuguese delegation whose Head is planning to run at the elections for the President of the NATO PA at the end of the year. The two delegations discussed both support for Ukraine as well as the priorities of the Assembly. Kaljulaid will also take part in the meeting of Nordic and Baltic heads of delegations and visit the Novo Selo Training Area with the Defence and Security Committee.

The Estonian delegation at the Spring Session held in Sofia, Bulgaria, is made up of Raimond Kaljulaid and Marko Mihkelson.

Riigikogu Press Service
Karin Kangro
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