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Estonian president urges Baltic States to increase defense spending

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Feb. 27, 2014, 8:05 p.m. | Ukraine abroad — by Interfax-Ukraine

Estonian president Toomas Hendrik
© AFP

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has called on the Baltic States to increase their defense spending in light of the recent developments in Ukraine.

 A struggle for power, a struggle for values, a struggle for human rights and democracy has always been present in the world," he said in a speech on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Baltic Defense College on Thursday, the head of state's press office told Interfax.

"The events in Ukraine show that this struggle is taking place within Europe as well. This sends a clear signal to Estonia and the (other) Baltic States: we must invest more in our national defense," the president said.

"Sufficient defense spending from the viewpoint of security is still very important, this is true for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania," he said.

"NATO can be relied on only as long as its states can be relied on and as long as they demonstrate a sense of responsibility. NATO perception in our region depends simultaneously on our other allies' readiness to protect us and on the Baltic States' efforts to invest money in their own defense," Ilves said.

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