Honourable members of the XII Riigikogu,
Prime Minister and members of the Government,
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
We are living in tumultuous and complicated times. I have repeatedly affirmed that Estonia's security is more robustly ensured than ever before. We received confirmation of this less than a week ago, when President Barack Obama stated, right here in Tallinn, clearly and directly, that Tallinn, Vilnius and Rīga are just as protected as Berlin, Paris and London. We have made the right decisions in our time, from instituting the withdrawal of Russian troops from our soil twenty years ago to meeting the terms of our agreements within NATO. And now we can see that there was good reason for us to do so.
The world around us, and the part of the world right on our doorstep, has changed. What we hoped would never be repeated has happened again. War is raging in Ukraine. It was started by a country whose border stands just a few hundred kilometres from Tallinn. Its mask has slipped.
We see Russia isolating itself ever further from democratic countries. At first it merely supported the armed separatists; now it has attacked its neighbour using its own military forces. The Russian security services have seized an Estonian citizen on this side of the border, removed him to Moscow and imprisoned him there, obstructing the Estonian consul from making any contact. Russia's military action has led to the imposition of sanctions by democratic countries. Estonia will do everything within its power – and within the power of its allies – to ensure the swift and safe return of our countryman.
Ukraine chooses its own path and for this it has become a victim of aggression. The European Union as a whole must stand with Ukraine in its support to the country," President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said on the opening panel of the 11th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting. Due to the annexation of Crimea, the prestigious international conference is being held in Kiev this time.
What is currently happening in Ukraine is a battle between Europe and non-Europe; it is not solely a military issue, with Russian aggression as one party; instead, it is a conflict of values, a struggle between a closed and an open society, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves noted after meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Kiev today.
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, will today fly to Kiev to meet with the Head of State of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin. The meetings will focus on the situation in Ukraine and the reconstruction of the country, support from Europe, the aggressive activities of Russia and the response of democratic countries, as well as on political and economic relations between Estonia and Ukraine.