Dear members of the Defense League.
Dear Estonian people.
Every year on the anniversary of the Battle of Võnnu, or Victory Day, I have spoken about Estonia's defense and security. And today, unfortunately like a year ago, today there is something to talk about.
For a year and half now, a war has been underway in Europe.
Crimea has been annexed; Russian forces are fighting on Ukrainian territory in the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts.
For Estonia, this has brought the realization that our freedom, our sense of security and safety is not as self-evident, as we are used to believing.
But we have also learned something else. We have learned about the solidarity of Estonia's allies. And now, even the doubters know that Estonia has reliable allies.
Let's take a quick look at the recent past.
The attack on Crimea commenced on the last days of February 2014. U.S. fighter planes landed in Estonia and Lithuania on March 6th of last year, in order to secure the airspace of the Baltic countries. Less than 90 hours or slightly more than three days had passed from the moment, when the Estonian Minister of Defense sent a request to the U.S. Ambassador to sent fighter and tanker planes to the Ämari airbase.
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, met with the Ambassador of Moldova to Estonia, Victor Guzun, at Ärma and presented him with Class I Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana. This is acknowledgment of the commitment and dedication shown by Ambassador Guzun in promoting relations between Estonia and Moldova as well as the initiation of various co-operation projects between the local governments of the two countries.
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, flew to Berlin today where he will be a keynote speaker at a round table that will focus on Russia's current policy; the event is being organised by the influential Italian think tank Reset-DoC or Reset-Dialogues On Civilisations, which focuses on international relations, and the German Association for Foreign Policy.
"Estonia and the United States of America are both NATO and bilateral allies; we can rely on each other's support and hope for mutual assistance, should we need it," said President Ilves at a meeting with the US Secretary of Defence, Ashton Carter, who was on a working visit to Tallinn.