Ruslan Stefanchuk: Estonia’s leadership and advocacy in defence support are extremely valuable for Ukraine

Press Service of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
21 March 2023, 17:32


This was stated by the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk during a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu.

He noted that from the beginning of the war to the present day, Estonia has been a key and one of the most important partners for Ukraine, which has been providing powerful assistance, support and “fighting with us at the front”.

Ruslan Stefanchuk expressed special gratitude for the important political initiatives in support of Ukraine, which are constantly developed by the Estonian Parliament and supported by the Government of the Republic.

“I would like to note the unprecedented decision to transfer all 122-mm and 155-mm howitzers available in Estonia to Ukraine. This is an example of what only true friends do,” said the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament.

He also thanked Estonia for the general support provided to our Armed Forces, in particular, in training Ukrainian military in accordance with NATO standards, treatment and rehabilitation of wounded soldiers, etc.

The parties also discussed the plan of joint procurement of ammunition agreed by the EU countries, which provides for the supply of one million shells to Ukraine.

“This is a crucial decision that will bring our victory closer. Ammunition is key for our military to move forward effectively and gain an advantage over the enemy. Estonia’s leadership and advocacy in defence support are extremely valuable to us,” Ruslan Stefanchuk said.

In addition, the interlocutors touched upon the topic of russia’s responsibility for the war in the centre of Europe under international law: the creation of a mechanism for compensation for damage caused by russia to Ukraine, the establishment of a register of losses and a special tribunal for the crime of russian aggression. The importance of sanctions pressure against russia was also raised. The Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine expressed hope that the 11th package of restrictions would be the most effective against the aggressor country.

“We need such sanctions so that russia cannot circumvent them and they are painful. Estonia’s leading role in maintaining a high degree of sanctions pressure against russia is also very important here,” Ruslan Stefanchuk said.

The participants of the meeting also touched upon the issues of the future that are important for Ukraine: the implementation of the peace formula of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, which is the main prerequisite for ending the war; strengthening and deepening of interparliamentary relations between the two countries; Estonia’s active participation in the reconstruction of Ukraine, in particular, the facilities in Zhytomyr region; Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic path.

With regard to the latter, the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament stressed that Ukraine counts on Estonia’s support at the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius regarding our application for membership in the Alliance.

“Today, Ukraine is actually playing the role of a NATO country, deterring russian aggression. I hope that in the near future the declaration of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas on Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration will be signed. This will help the Allies to start a discussion on considering Ukraine’s application for NATO membership,” Ruslan Stefanchuk urged his Estonian colleagues.

In response, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu also expressed hope that the NATO Summit in Vilnius would be productive on the issue of Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance.

“We hope that the political declaration signed by the President Zelenskyi and the NATO Secretary General will contain a concrete path for Ukraine to join the Alliance. We urge you to continue negotiations in order to have concrete decisions set out in this declaration,” Urmas Reinsalu urged.

He also stressed that Estonia is watching our achievements on the path to EU and NATO membership with admiration and called for enhanced promotion of these achievements, particularly in Europe, to attract supporters among countries that have doubts about Ukraine’s membership in the EU and the Alliance.

“The most important thing now is to seize the moment, to use the time correctly. As soon as we slow down, the issue stops being actively discussed and we can lose the opportunity to get useful and important decisions for Ukraine. In Estonia, we know very well what it is like to miss a historic opportunity. That is why we must continue to work hard together to achieve concrete and quick results,” said Urmas Reinsalu.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia also touched upon the issue of russia’s responsibility for the crimes committed in Ukraine. In particular, he stressed that one should not rely on the immediate effect of the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for putin’s arrest.

“This is not enough. This is only the beginning of our journey. We need to continue talking about the special tribunal and exert friendly pressure at the parliamentary and governmental levels on certain EU countries that have doubts about it. Since we still do not have a clear consensus between the G7 and other European countries on this issue, it is worth keeping it on the global agenda,” Urmas Reinsalu said at the end of the meeting.