Brussels, March 6, 2014 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said today at the extraordinary meeting of EU heads of state and government in Brussels that the European Union has decided to take concrete action to solve the crisis in Ukraine.Ansip referred to the fact that Russia has taken no steps towards restoring the situation in Crimea and the occupation of the peninsula by Russian troops continues in spite of the demands of the international community. According to the Prime Minister, Russia continues to exert pressure on Ukraine and it is even increasing, which is why the EU has to take concrete action."Declarations are not enough," Prime Minister Ansip said. "Russia has to understand that there are consequences to its actions."The head of the Estonian Government stressed the importance of halting Russia's aggression and in helping Ukraine in every way. He recommended moving towards the alleviation of visa conditions with Ukraine more quickly. Ansip also said that association and free trade treaties with Ukraine should be concluded quickly and the prospect given of Ukraine joining the EU."Ukraine needs the support of the international community, including the EU," Ansip said at the extraordinary meeting of the European Council. "The new Government of Ukraine deserves concrete assistance for carrying out reforms in the country. The 11 billion euro support package offered by the European Commission is a step in the right direction."Today's extraordinary summit on the subject of Ukraine was summoned by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk also participated in the first part of the meeting, in which he gave European heads of state and government an overview of the latest developments in Ukraine.Yatsenyuk said that Ukraine is ready to sign an association treaty with the EU as soon as possible, expressing his confidence that this would have discernible positive effects on Ukrainians. He noted that the EU's support for carrying out reforms in Ukraine is greatly appreciated.In the following discussions, the leaders of the EU unanimously condemned the violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia, stressing the fact that the solution to the crisis must be based on the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine as well as a strict adherence to international standards.The declaration of the EU heads of state and government: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/141372.pdf Photos of the extraordinary meeting can be seen at: https://valitsus.ee/et/uudised/pildialbum#2613-1
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and Evelin Ilves met today in Tokyo with Akihito, Emperor of Japan, and Empress Michiko.
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who arrived in Tokyo on a visit at the invitation of the Japanese Prime Minister, today made a presentation at the Japan Association of New Economy, gave a lecture at Waseda University, met with local and foreign media at Tokyo National Press Club and paid a visit to the headquarters of Microsoft Japan, where Estonian and Japanese start-up companies were introduced to investors.
Defence Minister Urmas Reinsalu welcomes the prompt increase in the military presence of the US, NATO’s largest member state, in the Baltic region.
“While consulting and analysing with the United States the security situation in Europe, which has changed due to Russian Federation’s acts of aggression against Ukraine, I asked for the strengthening of air policing in our air space,” said Defence Minister Urmas Reinsalu. “I am truly glad that Estonia’s most important ally has positively responded to this request so promptly.”
Defence Minister Reinsalu says that NATO’s concept of deterrence is flexible and adaptable based on the security situation. “The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine has changed the security situation and therefore it is logical that air policing will be strengthened. The North Atlantic Council will also consider other possible deterrence options,” added the Defence Minister.
Sending six additional fighters and two air-to-air refuelling planes to the Baltic Sea region will improve NATO’s air-policing capability by providing greater flexibility and scope to NATO’s air-policing operations. As of today, the air-policing operations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be performed by ten US F-15 fighters and two KC-135 air-to-air refuelling planes.
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The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and Evelin Ilves will today board a flight for a visit to Japan. Japan, a member of G7 and Estonia's close ally in Asia, is our important economic and business partner. The main goals of the long-planned visit of the Estonian Head of State include top-level discussions about security and economic policies, the promotion of information and communication technology as well as the cyber sphere and enhancing business contacts between the two countries.
Last evening, the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, discussed Russia's military activities in Ukraine with the Vice President of the United States of America, Joe Biden.
Estonian Defence Minister Urmas Reinsalu, Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Vējonis and Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas held a phone conversation today in which they discussed current events in Ukraine and information sharing on an on-going basis. Defence Minister Reinsalu said that the defence ministers of the three states jointly denounced the invasion and occupation of the territory of Ukraine by Russia.
“Under the present circumstances, it is essential that the Baltic states consult each other on security matters and cooperate closely,” said Reinsalu.
In their phone conversation, the ministers stressed the need for additional coordination and information sharing between the general staffs of the defence forces.
The Commanders-in-Chief of the Defence Forces of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were also present at the conversation.
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"Invasion and de facto occupation by Russia are taking place on the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. Russia's military activities or threatening with military activities are influencing the security of Europe in general," stated the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who had asked for an extraordinary summoning of the National Defence Council in light of the crisis in Ukraine.
The National Defence Council will hold an extraordinary meeting today, summoned by the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, to discuss the continued increase in military tensions initiated by Russia in Ukraine.
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who congratulated the Baltic Defence College on its 15th anniversary, invited Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to contribute more to national defence.