Estonian defence minister denies "serious talks" to send European troops to Ukraine are underway

Tuesday, 14 May 2024

Hanno Pevkur, Minister of Defence of Estonia, has said that the suggestion to send troops to Ukraine has not found support neither in Estonia nor at the European Union level.

On Monday, Breaking Defense reported, citing Estonian President Alar Karis’s security advisor Madis Roll, that the Estonian government was engaged in serious talks concerning the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine.

Roll told Breaking Defense that the Estonian government was considering the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine and that ideally that would happen as part of a broader NATO mission.

Pevkur, however, said that the government did not engage in discussions specifically about sending troops to Ukraine.


"There’s nothing new here. When France spoke in favour of considering whether Europe and its allies could do more, this idea was mentioned in different conversations, but it has not found support, because there is no clear understanding of what this would achieve even among [Ukraine’s] allies," Pevkur told ERR.

"I think that Madis Roll’s statement was interpreted too liberally. There is certainly no purely Estonian initiative, and Estonia is certainly not going to do anything on its own," Pevkur added.

He also said that Estonia’s priority is sending ammunition to Ukraine and hosting training for its armed forces in other countries.

"First of all, it’s crucial to send ammunition and other military equipment to Ukraine. We can also hold training in Poland, which is situated very close to Ukraine," Pevkur said.

Madis Roll told ERR that he did not tell reporters that the Estonian government was currently considering sending troops to Ukraine.

"My message consisted in saying that Estonia has not ruled out any of the different ways it can help Ukraine, and that all of these different ways of helping are still being discussed. Neither we nor our allies should have any restrictions when it comes to helping Ukraine. So of course we and our allies are analysing different scenarios," Roll said.

In March, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas refused to say that the Estonian Defence Forces would not be sent to Ukraine. Estonian Deputy Foreign Minister Küllike Sillaste-Elling urged NATO to be more open to this idea.

In late February, after a meeting in Paris between the presidents and heads of government of two dozen European countries, Emmanuel Macron said he had proposed that Western countries send their troops to Ukraine.

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