Estonia to send Poland people and equipment

Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet. PHOTO: Eero Vabamägi/Postimees

Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) said at the government press conference on Thursday that Poland has turned to Estonia for aid and that it will soon be agreed how many people and equipment will be sent.

“We will be giving Poland practical aid. We will decide tomorrow (Friday – ed.) what that aid will be exactly,” Laanet said.

“We will be contributing people, equipment and everything else required to defend the border. While Poland initially only asked for political help, they changed their mind on Monday evening,” Laanet said.

The defense minister said that reservists will be going to Poland voluntarily and that they will be paid for their efforts. The first thing is to see how many volunteers we can find among reservists, and we will take it from there,” Laanet suggested.

“We know that the UK has provided aid for Poland. I take it as a vote of confidence in Estonia that Poland has turned to us for aid. I can say that they need people and equipment – things required to protect the sovereignty of a country, which is what we will be contributing.”

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Thursday that Estonia is in constant contact with other European leaders and that she spoke at length to the president of the European Commission on Wednesday.

“European unity matters to us, and we will support Poland every way we can. Human rights violations are taking place on the Belarusian side [of the border], which is where human rights organizations need to turn their attention,” the PM said.

Kallas said that the government decided on Wednesday to organize a snap reserve training exercise to erect additional barricades on the Estonian border. “There is no direct threat for the Estonian border, while taking preventive measures never hurt anyone,” the PM said. She emphasized that Europe must not cave to pressure from the Belarusian dictator and that additional sanctions need to be taken forward. “Sanctions are hurting Lukashenko’s regime.”

“Our information suggests that what has been discussed with Lukashenko is letting humanitarian aid organizations in. It is important to give them access so they could help people and draw attention to violations. “Lukashenko and Putin would like to see us fall out amongst ourselves,” the PM added.

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