Exclusive interview with the Defence Minister of Estonia Mr Sven Mikser.
Current aggressive policy of Moscow forces NATO to enhance defense of its member-states directly bordering Russia. In this respect how real is occurrence of the Alliance’s bases within the territory of Russia?
Firstly, I would say that NATO’s decision to reinforce the Alliance’s collective defence in wake of the crisis in Ukraine should not be a surprise to anyone, but rather serve as an example of NATO living up to its core task. NATO’s Heads of State and Government have pledged their commitment to collective defence at NATO’s Summits, most recently in 2012 in Chicago. Collective defence implies that the Allies’ bases can become the Alliance’s bases any time. Russia, on her part, has made it clear that it would never become an Ally, therefore NATO’s bases within the territory of Russia remain unforeseen at present.
Which is the line of Estonia regarding the idea to unite armed forces of Baltic states?
The Baltic States’ armed forces are each part of their own sovereign national states. Until the day Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would, for some reason and based on broad tri-national support, opt for a joint state, no united armed forces can be considered. That being said, the Baltic armed forces are indeed an example of close military cooperation on all levels between the three national armies – which is something for others to follow.
Which are the main achievements of the work of the NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Center?
I believe that the CCD COE has made a valuable contribution to NATO’s overall cyber defence posture since the day it was established. Today it possesses extensive experience in many areas, like international law in the cyber domain. Estonia remains committed to our contribution to support the Centre, with the aim of further developing NATO’s cyber posture, while also maintaining a good cooperation with other relevant and like-minded cyber institutions.
Estonia participates in the logistic network of NATO Northern Distribution Network (NDN) to provide supply for the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan. Does this network operate today when the relations of NATO and Russia have worsened acutely after the crisis in Ukraine?
Estonia is in the process of redeploying equipment no longer needed in the operation. However, we do not employ the NDN for this purpose.
How does bilateral military cooperation of Estonia with the countries of Central Asian region develop?
Estonia remains interested in cooperation with like-minded nations, and committed to NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, to the best of our capacity. The Central Asian countries are members of this program and I believe that the Partnership for Peace initiatives remain the best avenue to explore, also to develop cooperation between our militaries.
Thank you very much for the answers