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.
During the Ukrainian crisis, Baltic airspace has also been protected by Danes, German, Spaniards, Brits, Italians, Norwegians, Poles and Canadians.
The first company of American soldiers had their boots on the ground in Estonia last April. U.S. President Barack Obama visited Tallinn in early September, and said among other things, that for NATO the defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves today signed the decision to appoint Marina Kaljurand to the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs at the proposal of the Prime Minister, Taavi Rõivas.
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, today opened the symposium of the Estonia's Friends International Meeting, "Quo vadis, Estonia?", in the White Hall of the Riigikogu; this year, the event focuses on digital identity. In his opening address, the Head of State focused on the deficiencies of the common European digital market and identity issues on the Internet.
The Estonian Head of State, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, yesterday hosted Raimonds Vējonis, the President of Latvia who took office yesterday; the Latvian head of state was making his first official foreign visit to none other than Estonia, which President Ilves characterised as remarkable.