Estonian PM calls on US and NATO allies to take tougher stance on Russia

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European leaders have been increasing their own defense spending and industrial capacity as questions remain over continued U.S. support for Ukraine. Leading the charge is Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Karas, 46, the country’s first female prime minister. Karas is known for his tough stance on Russia. Some critics joked that she even ate them for breakfast. Earlier this year, Russia’s interior minister issued an arrest warrant against her for removing Soviet monuments, but Karas has not backed down.

Asked to respond to critics who said she was too tough on Putin, Karas said: “Can you be tough enough on Putin, given what he has done?” Since Russia invades Ukraine In February 2022, Karas became one of Putin’s strongest critics.

Karas had been considered to be the next NATO secretary-general, but some of her opponents said she was too hawkish and unfit to lead the alliance. In response, Karas said she believed Putin should not have a say in how NATO manages its alliance.

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Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Karas (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) hold a press conference after meeting in Zhitomyr on April 24, 2023, during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)

“Russia is the biggest threat to NATO security… If we say we cannot hold the top job because of our attitude toward Russia, then we are actually giving Putin too much power to decide how we run our alliance,” Karas said. “.

Estonia is located in NATO frontline, has a 210-mile border with Russia. Estonia spends 3.2% of its annual GDP on defense, of which 1.35% is spent on Ukraine’s fight against Russia, equivalent to $378 billion per year.

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After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia became independent and eventually joined NATO in 2004. In 2007, Russia launched a massive cyberattack the likes of which the world had never seen. The cyberattack lasted 22 days and targeted the Estonian parliament, banks and news organizations. Estonia is now the headquarters for NATO cyber defense.

Karas said the 2007 attacks were completely different from the attacks Estonia is now preventing on a daily basis. “We invest a lot in cybersecurity so these attacks don’t actually happen,” Karas said. But hospital cybersecurity remains a huge problem. “There could be civilian casualties. So we have to be prepared,” Karas said.

Buckmut battle

On May 15, 2023, Ukrainian soldiers fired artillery near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. Bakhmut is a city in eastern Ukraine where fierce fighting is taking place with Russian troops. For months, Western allies have shipped billions of dollars worth of weapons systems and munitions to the Ukraine emergency to get supplies to Kiev in time for an expected spring counteroffensive. Summer is only a few weeks away. Although Russia and Ukraine are concentrating on the fight for Bakhmut, Ukraine’s spring offensive has not yet begun. (AP Photo/Libkos)

These cyberattacks are part of what Karas calls a shadow war. “While there’s a conventional war going on in Ukraine, there’s also a shadow war going on within our society… What they’re really good at is adding fuel to the fire that already exists in our society. So we have to be aware,” Karas explain.

Karas is worried about more than just a direct conflict with Russia. She wants to prevent more shadow wars.Because of this, Karas warned against negotiating an end to the war with Russia As former President Trump has suggested, he would take action in Ukraine if elected.

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Putin wins

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a concert commemorating the presidential election victory and the 10th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea by Russia in Red Square, Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 18, 2024. President Vladimir Putin seized Crimea from Ukraine a decade ago, a move that soared his popularity but was widely condemned as illegal.

“Of course, war is bad and peace is good. But there is also a difference between peace and peace,” Karas said.

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under StalinIn 1949, her mother was just six months old. She and her family were sent to a Soviet POW camp in Siberia. These labor camps across Russia were called Gulags. They stayed there for ten years before being released.

“The end of the war does not mean peace,” Karas said.

“Peace, according to Russia, does not mean that human suffering will stop. For my country, one fifth of the population has either been deported or killed. Our language, our culture is suppressed . All these things happened while we had peace. So, the statement that Russia is at peace does not mean that human suffering will stop.”

russia, putin, victory day

Russian Army soldiers stand in a military vehicle during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 7, 2022. The military parade will be held on May 9 in Moscow’s Red Square to celebrate the 77th anniversary of victory in World War II. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlyanichenko) (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlyanichenko)

Karas warned that a victory for Putin in Ukraine would trigger other conflicts around the world. “History rhymes and we have to learn from history,” Karas said, referring to the 1930s and the run-up to World War II.

“If aggression pays off somewhere, that invites us to use it elsewhere. We know the tensions in the South China Sea, Iran, North Korea. So we’re going to have more conflicts around the world because the aggressor might – Invaders around the world are taking careful notes.”

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Asked about skeptics who believe Ukraine cannot win the war, Karas said Russia’s goal is to convince the West that Ukraine cannot win. “When you don’t aim for victory, you don’t win the war,” Karas said, noting that now was not the time for negotiations.

Karas calls on U.S. to continue supporting Ukraine Congress passes more funding. “If the United States does not support Ukraine, then Russia will win. Then Russia’s friends China, Iran, and North Korea are the real world leaders. We don’t want such a world.”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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