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"I don´t want to live in the 19th century"

Estonian Ambassador to Germany talks about the war in Ukraine

News from Feb 27, 2015


A strong condemnation of Russia´s action in Ukraine, but a clear “no” to military measures by NATO. That´s how Kaja Tael, Estonian Ambassador to Germany, described the war in Ukraine to the students of our master program International Relations Online during her keynote speech on Monday at Freie Universität Berlin. “Joining NATO and the EU was the best decision Estonia has taken in the last 800 years”, Tael said. She rejected the thesis that NATO is partly responsible for the escalation in Ukraine since the military alliance did not encircle Russia or threatened its security interests. The Estonian Ambassador also disapproves with the opinion that Russia has “legitimate security interests” in Ukraine because this concept would be just a euphemism for “legitimate spheres of influence”. “I don´t want to live in the 19th century again. I want to go back into the 21st century”, Tael said.
In her view, NATO now needs to build up its defensive forces in its Eastern borders and strengthen the sanctions against Russia. “When Western Europeans are worried about sleepwalking into a war, we in Eastern Europe are worried about appeasing an aggressor.” A military confrontation with Russia, on the other hand, would still be inconceivable.
Talking about the situation in her own country and the large Russian minority in the Eastern part of Estonia, Tael said that she does not believe that a Crimean scenario is very likely. The reason would be that Estonia is a stable state. “And Estonia has teeth”, Tael said to the students at the Center for Global Politics.  

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