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Vira Konyk on President Zelenskyy’s visit to Baltic States

#StandWithUkraine
January 15,2024 386
Vira Konyk on President Zelenskyy’s visit to Baltic States

by Vira Konyk

Head of the Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia

On January 10-11, the Baltic States hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his first visit to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia since the full-scale invasion by the Russian aggressor began.

The Ukrainian President’s current visit serves as a gesture of appreciation to the Baltic States. On February 24, 2022, these states promptly and unwaveringly backed Ukraine, aligning themselves with freedom and independence, as highlighted by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his address to the Estonian Parliament. Zelenskyy noted that other nations required additional time to take a similar stance.

In the capital of Estonia, Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with President Alar Karis, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, and the Speaker of the Parliament, Lauri Hussar. The Ukrainian President acknowledged Estonia’s crucial role in providing timely military assistance at the beginning of the invasion. 

Over the course of the two years of the full-scale war, Estonia delivered 17 military aid packages valued at EUR 500 million, equivalent to 1.26 percent of the national GDP. This establishes Estonia as a prominent global contributor to military assistance for Ukraine. The Estonian government has outlined its commitment to sustain this support, with plans to annually furnish military aid to Ukraine until 2027, allocating funds at a rate of 0.25 percent of its GDP.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Estonia for its strong support in initiating negotiations for Ukraine’s EU accession and its NATO membership.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Kaja Kallas.

During the discussions, the matter of mobilization in Ukraine, including the return of males eligible for conscription from foreign locations, was addressed. Volodymyr Zelenskyy underscored that all Ukrainian citizens should contribute to their nation in times of war, not solely through direct involvement in frontline combat. He highlighted the significance of individuals contributing to the nation’s efforts by working within Ukraine, fulfilling tax obligations, bolstering the economy, and fortifying Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Alar Karis.

Estonian President Alar Karis emphasized the imperative for Europe to take swift and resolute action, urging immediate provision of essential support to Ukraine for its victory. He underscored that the urgency lies not in waiting until tomorrow but in addressing Ukraine’s today’s needs. President Karis asserted that preventing the escalation of war throughout the entire European continent is a paramount interest to Europe. Alar Karis greatly respected the Armed Forces of Ukraine by signing a decree awarding all Ukrainian warriors collectively with Estonia’s highest honor – the Order of the Eagle, 1st class.

Upon leaving the country, Volodymyr Zelenskyy wished the friendly Estonian people peace, happiness, and prosperity. Together to Victory!

Photos: Office of the President of Ukraine