Joint leaders statement by the Rt Hon Boris Johnson and the PM of Estonia, Mrs Kaja Kallas. This statement builds on and complements the UK-Estonia statement of intent, signed in March 2021, to mark the centenary of UK-Estonian diplomatic relations.
The UK and Estonia today announced their commitment to creating ever stronger ties between our countries and to further strengthening our cooperation on defence and security.
We will enhance our security cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, including through UK military commitment within NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and through the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). The UK has doubled the number of troops in NATO’s eFP in Estonia for a further six months. The UK and Estonia are also committed to further enhancing the effectiveness of the eFP presence in the future. We will continue to cooperate through military exercises and NATO’s Baltic Air Policing. We welcome NATO’s decision that the UK, in partnership with Estonia, will host the Defence Innovator Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) European HQ. DIANA will help NATO Allies secure the technological edge necessary to address the defence challenges of the future.
We agree that NATO is the cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security and the foundation of our collective defence. Following the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine, we agree that it is vital that the Alliance is stronger and more united than ever before. The UK and Estonia are therefore committed to working through the Alliance to significantly strengthen both deterrence and defence, ensuring the territorial integrity of every Ally, and delivering decisive effect when and where it is needed to meet any threat.
The UK and Estonia look forward to the NATO Summit in Madrid later this month to address the new strategic reality and confirm our collective approach, including agreeing abiding changes to our deterrence and defence posture in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We agree that NATO must maintain the momentum in developing its deterrence and defence posture; ensure its forces are credible and combat-capable on the eastern flank across all domains; and expand its forward presence from a trip-wire approach to a model based on well-equipped and in place forces supported by persistent and rapidly scalable reinforcements from across the Alliance. The UK and Estonia therefore stand ready to work together in NATO to strengthen both the forces and command structures committed to the defence of Estonia and other Allies, with the ability to act on land, in the air and at sea, and to draw on space and cyberspace. Furthermore, the UK will work together with Estonia as it establishes a divisional-level command structure in Estonia that, coherent with NATO, will be able to command Estonian, British and other allied forces as needed. The UK will identify practical ways of supporting this Estonian initiative.
As partners in the JEF, the UK and Estonia will work closely together to ensure the JEF continues to deliver high levels of assurance in the region, and complements wider NATO activity. We welcome NATO’s determination to modernise its defence and deterrence, including through building global partnerships with countries committed to standing up to those who threaten their freedom and sovereignty.
As Europe faces its biggest security crisis in decades, with a fellow European democracy under attack, Estonia and the UK stand side by side.
Our nations have long been clear-eyed about the threat from Putin’s Russia, which poses both a direct and long-term threat to Euro-Atlantic security. The brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine is an assault on democracy and freedom, and has brought terrible suffering to the Ukrainian people. The invasion has also significantly exacerbated one of the most severe food and energy crises in recent history, which now threatens the poorest and most vulnerable globally. The UK and Estonia unequivocally condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine. We call on Russia to immediately cease its aggression, withdraw its troops from the whole territory of Ukraine and fully comply with its obligations under international law. Russia must be held accountable for its crimes committed in Ukraine. We agree on the need to end dependence on Russian hydrocarbons as rapidly as possible and will work together to accelerate the development of alternatives.
The UK and Estonia confirm their commitment to support Ukraine by all means possible, including by providing Ukraine with military aid and isolating Russia both economically and politically. We are committed to long-term support for Ukraine’s reconstruction and ensuring that it has the means to defend itself and deter future attacks. Ukraine must prevail and be supported to enjoy a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future. We will not cease until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is restored. We reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration and are ready to further strengthen cooperation with Ukraine.
The UK and Estonia agree on the importance of strengthening the bilateral relationship beyond security and defence and note the potential for increased trade and investment between Estonia and the UK, building on the strong economic links already in place. The UK and Estonia will develop a UK-Estonia Tech Partnership to help us go further in harnessing technology and supporting new digital infrastructure and cross-border data flows founded on democratic principles. We agree to continue to explore further areas of collaboration.
This statement builds on and complements the UK-Estonia statement of intent, signed in March 2021, to mark the centenary of UK-Estonian diplomatic relations.