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Ukrainian president, Estonian premier discuss bolstering Kyiv’s front-line capabilities

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday met with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in the Zhytomyr region and discussed Kyiv’s accession to regional organizations and the bolstering of the country’s front-line capabilities.

“On a per capita basis, Estonia’s defense assistance for us is one of the largest in the world.. Ukraine appreciates every piece of weaponry that Estonia has given us … I thank Estonia and you personally, Prime Minister, for the initiative on joint European direct procurement of weapons and ammunition, which envisages the provision of one million 155-mm shells to Ukraine by EU members,” Zelenskyy said at a press conference, according to a Ukrainian presidency statement.

The statement said Zelenskyy called Kallas “a true leader and defender of our common European freedom.” He thanked Estonia for its help in the treatment and rehabilitation of Ukrainian soldiers after the injuries they suffered on the front line with Russia, and praised the cooperation between Kyiv and Tallinn in cybersecurity.

“Ukrainians will always remember how important your support has become. Estonia can rest assured that our Ukrainian victory in this war will be a reliable guarantee of a historic outcome for all the nations of Europe, including the Estonian people. After our victory, Russian revanchism will never again break the life of any person in Europe,” he said.

The statement further said that Zelenskyy and Kallas discussed the strengthening of Ukraine’s capabilities on the front line, during which Zelenskyy expressed the importance that all partners are “as decisive and fast as possible” in delivering the promised aid to Kyiv, especially in terms of weapons.

“Today we discussed our expectations from the NATO Summit in Vilnius. Now is the time when the Alliance needs ambitious decisions. Reliable security in Europe can only be based on full certainty in the relations on NATO’s eastern flank, especially in the relations between Ukraine and NATO. We need a positive political decision of the Alliance on Ukraine’s accession,” the Ukrainian president said.

The statement added that Zelenskyy and Kallas discussed reconstruction of Ukraine, as well as the issue of strengthening sanctions against Russia.

It said that Zelenskyy awarded the Estonian prime minister with the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, II degree, for “outstanding personal merits in strengthening Ukrainian-Estonian interstate cooperation, support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

For her part, Kallas thanked Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people for the recognition shown to her and noted her first foreign visit as the head of the Estonian government to Ukraine “symbolizes Estonia’s support for the Ukrainian people.”

“As you (Zelenskyy) rightly pointed out, freedom must overcome tyranny – this is our common task and our number one focus,” Kallas said.

Kallas further said that military assistance to the Ukrainian army should continue on a “sufficient scale” so that Ukraine wins the war, which is why she proposed to the EU a joint purchase of artillery shells for Ukraine.

“We believe in your victory. We believe in a prosperous Ukraine with liberal democracy, a free market economy and a membership in the Euro-Atlantic community. Your struggle, your sacrifices have clearly shown that the way to peace is to eliminate gray areas in European security,” she said, adding: “For peace in Europe, we need Ukraine in the European Union and in NATO.”

She also expressed hope that Ukraine’s reconstruction, together with reforms and European integration, will “create opportunities for rapid economic growth” and will enable Ukraine to become “one of the most successful economies in Europe.”

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