countries constantly challenging Europe’s security have not disappeared

On Wednesday, June 23, Estonia celebrates the 102nd anniversary of the victory in the War of Independence. Head of State Kersti Kaljulaid made a speech on this occasion in Paide, including recalling that those forces and countries that constantly challenge European security have not disappeared anywhere.

Speech by the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid Photo: TAIRO FIGHT

The speech of the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, which she delivered in Paide at the Victory Day parade, is in full volume.

Dear members of the Defense League, the people of Estonia – the inhabitants of Paide and those who look after us from home!

Today, after a forced pause, we again have the opportunity to celebrate Victory Day as it should be – hundreds of members of the Defense League, patriotic associations of young men and women, military personnel of allies lined up on the central square of Paide for the parade.

I want to talk about our will and willingness to defend our country, as well as the abated coronavirus crisis. The people of Estonia can get together again and celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the victory over Landeswehr and the end of the cold winter amid the pandemic.

Strengthening defense capabilities and fostering the will to defend their country should be constantly dealt with. It is also necessary to continue to fight the virus. Our protection from viruses also depends on our will: the question is, can we vaccinate the Estonian population so that in the future we do not have to cancel a single day of school and not lose a single life?

In this battle, each of us is a soldier on the battlefield: by defending ourselves, we are helping all of Estonia. Most likely, year after year, we will have to increase our efforts on this front – the first stages of vaccination must be followed by new ones so that we can protect society or prepare a defense against new and mutated variants of the virus. We do not yet know how everything will turn out, but fighting the disease for some time became the most urgent task of the concept of comprehensive national defense.

The lights of victory shone last year as well, lighting up the whole of Estonia with their sparks. The fire was delivered from Kadriorg by the best representatives of the patriotic associations of young men and women of all counties. It was a beautiful ceremony within acceptable conditions. But just as distance learning cannot replace a full-fledged school life, nothing can completely replace the traditional Victory Day parade and celebration of this day in all counties.

Dear Estonians,

our national defense model is unique in many ways. Volunteer defense organizations like the Defense League and compulsory military service, of course, are found in other countries as well. However, only in a small number of countries in the world, the staff of wartime units almost entirely consists of reservists and members of the Defense League, in which ordinary citizens, and not professional military men, are entrusted not only with performing the duties of an ordinary soldier – they are also entrusted with the tasks of managing units and detachments, and also trusted by very sophisticated weapon systems.

The first release of reservists trained to use Spike has just completed his service and was enrolled in the reserve – a missile system that takes the anti-tank capabilities of our Defense Forces to a completely new level.

In May of this year, in Nurmsi and other parts of Estonia, members of the Defense League conducted joint exercises with the paratroopers and special forces of the allies – compared to the latter, they did not look like amateurs. On the contrary, they have established themselves as professional volunteers. Honor and praise to them!

Honor and praise to you, who are now in the ranks here in Paide, and to the tens of thousands of reservists who are now at home – it is you who are guarding Estonia.

Such a significant reliance of the armed forces on a trained reserve is not so much a forced measure due to the small size of the country and the difficult geopolitical situation of Estonia, but an opportunity to replenish the ranks of defenders with the best and motivated citizens who, in peacetime, prefer to work in some other area of ​​interest to them.

Such a model of national defense is viable only if these citizens regularly come into contact with their teachers – commanders, as well as associates – other reservists. It’s not about parades canceled at some point.

Let’s not forget that the coronavirus crisis, which lasted for a year and a half, canceled many scheduled regular and additional training camps. The exercise is critical to strengthening the readiness and combat capability of our reserve units. I know that thanks to the ingenuity shown, the Defense Forces and the Defense League supported her during the crisis, but they look forward to getting back together in a major exercise.

I was incredibly pleased to hear when, during the “Spring Storm”, many employers in Estonia announced that they were ready to release the reservists from work and release them to training. They were willing to do more – to pay these men and women wages while they were on the maneuvers.

Honor and praise to you, employers of Estonia, who understand the essence of our reserve army! This year, your contribution to Spring Storm was not so great, as few reservists were invited to this exercise, but next year everyone will count again!

Dear people of Estonia!

In the course of overcoming the crisis in the health care system in the past year and a half, our state and society have acquired an instructive, but very difficult experience. It is humanly understandable that now we want to get a respite. Take a break from the worries, troubles and mental pain of the last year.

During this pause, we cannot afford the luxury of being completely light-hearted, because the world beyond the numbers of infected and the statistics of vaccinations has not become more calm and safe. The NATO summit last week reaffirmed the common Allies’ concern for the future of our alliance and demonstrated a strong desire to overcome the challenges of the 21st century.

But those forces and countries that constantly challenge European security have not disappeared. These are forces and countries that want the future of Europe to be shaped not through the free self-determination of peoples, but by the right of the mighty. We must make sure that today’s major teachings of our eastern neighbor do not grow into something more, so that the next months do not become fatal for the future of Ukraine, Belarus or Moldova.

When we practice the defense of Estonia, it does not matter whether we do it in the field, at headquarters, at the level of the government, the National Defense Council, the NATO ministerial summit, it cannot be considered a manifestation of weakness, fear, or evidence of an unconditional danger threatening us if not today. then tomorrow. On the contrary, it is the constant practice, exercise, identification of defense needs and analysis of possible enemy plans of action, as well as our readiness to respond to them, that strengthens the confidence that we are protected.

Because we have already thought about all the risks that threaten Estonia. Because we always have a plan. And it exists not only on paper: in accordance with it, we act, purchase equipment, conduct training, consult with allies about the joint use of our forces.

Therefore, we cannot be taken by surprise. Therefore, we are confident in ourselves. Therefore, we can always win. This is how we protect Estonia!

Long live the Defense League!

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