NewsEstonia weighs sending troops for Ukraine support amid NATO debates

Estonia weighs sending troops for Ukraine support amid NATO debates

Will Estonia send soldiers to Ukraine? "Discussions are ongoing"
Will Estonia send soldiers to Ukraine? "Discussions are ongoing"
Images source: © East News | RAIGO PAJULA

2:08 PM EDT, May 14, 2024

The Estonian government is actively discussing the potential deployment of its soldiers to western Ukraine for non-combat support roles, to allow Ukrainian forces to concentrate on front-line duties, as disclosed by the Estonian President's security advisor, Madis Roll, in an interview with Breaking Defence.

Roll noted that although Estonia prefers undertaking such actions within a NATO framework—to demonstrate unified strength and resolve—it's also open to participating in smaller coalitions. "Discussions are ongoing," Roll mentioned, highlighting the importance of keeping all options open and not confining their approach to preconceived notions of assistance.

He also mentioned that NATO countries currently hesitant about such engagements might shift their stance, suggesting a potential evolution in their positions over time.

General Martin Herem, the Estonian armed forces commander, revealed to Breaking Defence that there were previous debates about dispatching Estonian soldiers for medical, logistical, and air defense duties in western Ukraine. However, these discussions died down after the idea faced public scrutiny, partly fueled by French President Emmanuel Macron's contentious remark on the possibility of deploying troops to Ukraine, which has been defending against a Russian invasion for over two years.

Lithuania's Prime Minister discusses troop deployment to Ukraine

According to Breaking Defence, Lithuania's Prime Minister, Ingrida Szimonyte, expressed her country's willingness to send soldiers to Ukraine for a training mission in a "Financial Times" interview. The Lithuanian parliament has already sanctioned this proposal and is awaiting a formal request from Kyiv.

Szimonyte acknowledged that Russia might view such a move as a provocation but argued that concern over Moscow's reaction should not deter support for Ukraine. She pointed out Russia's constant threats, including nuclear intimidations, as a reason not to be paralyzed by fear of provocation.

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