During the video meeting held on 15th of April, the Minister of Defence of Estonia and the Secretary of State for Defence of United Kingdom discussed issues related to the withdrawal of Allied forces from Afghanistan, defence co-operation, and the situation along Ukraine’s borders.
‘For Estonia, it is important that the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan takes place in close co-operation with our closest Allies and taking into account the security situation on the ground. The United Kingdom is one of our most important allies, with whom our servicemen have served shoulder to shoulder in the most difficult regions of Afghanistan,’ said Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet after speaking with UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace.
‘The time we have spent serving together has cemented our defence cooperation, and we greatly appreciate the contribution of the United Kingdom to the security of our region and to the unity of NATO. The participation of the United Kingdom as a leading country in the Allied battle group stationed at Tapa, and the activity of UK in the Baltic Air Policing Mission, is the best proof of good cooperation,’ said Laanet.
The situation along Ukraine’s border and the developments related to Zapad 2021 – the Russian Federation’s training exercise, set to take place in the autumn – were also discussed at the meeting. ‘It is of critical importance that the Allies continue to monitor Russia’s activities along Ukraine’s border, along with the upcoming training exercises,’ Laanet noted.
The ministers also spoke about the United Kingdom’s vision for its new foreign and security policy, and defence strategy, which was announced in March. Minister Laanet stated that the two countries share similar understandings of and views on security threats. Issues related to co-operation within the Joint Expeditionary Force and the Northern Group, as well as cyber defence, were also discussed at the meeting.
Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace visited Estonia in December of 2020.
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