National events

One year of war in Ukraine, 105 years of Independent Estonian Republic

Lt Cdr Ingrid Mühling, Estonian Navy/CIOR Stratcom Committee 27.02.2023

Estonia’s 105th Independence Day parade. Photo: Estonian Defence Forces

February 24th was the 105th anniversary of Estonian Republic. The same day marks one year of Russia´s illegal aggression against Ukraine. President of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen  and Secretary General of NATO and Jens Stoltenberg  visited Tallinn on this day to demonstrate their support to both countries.

“Putin has not given up on his goals. He wants a different Europe where Russia can dictate what neighbors do. He is not preparing for peace, he is preparing for more war. So we must give Ukraine what they need to prevail,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Tallinn.

Estonia’s 105th Independence Day parade. Photo: Estonian Defence Forces

“We aim to train 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the European Union. Our member states are delivering military equipment. And we will turn to joint procurement to deliver urgent military supplies for Ukraine, such as 155 millimeter ammunition,” von der Leyen said, adding Europe must ramp up its defense industry to help both Ukraine and replenish Europe’s stocks.

On part of the Estonian independence day celebrations is a Defence Forces parade. Traditionally, at Estonian Independence Day parade reserve officers carry the national flag. „Estonian defence force is a reserve force, armed forces with professional and reserve component. Reserve officers carrying the national flag at the parade symbolises that.“ LTC Toomas Luman, the President of CIOR and member of the Estonian Reserve Officers´ Association. Alongside Estonian units, troops from Denmark, Germany, France, UK, US, and Ukraine participated at the Independence Day parade.

Estonia’s 105th Independence Day parade. Photo: Estonian Defence Forces

Estonian reserve officers together with Chamber of Commerce have raised more than three million euros to support Ukrainian troops. The aid includes 15 ambulance vehicles, 28 00 first aid kits, generators, medical equipment like portable x-ray and ultrasonic machines, thermal underwear, winter sleeping bags etc. Estonian government has supported Ukraine with weapons and ammunition worth almost 400 million euros.

Mr. Stoltenberg said at an interview to Estonian Public Broadcasters that the support of NATO allies and partners has been unprecedented. „I think it is also important for us to understand that those who fear escalation, those who say that by supporting Ukraine we risk escalation, need to understand that there is no risk-free option. The biggest risk of all is to let President Putin win. We therefore need to ensure that we give Ukraine sufficient support.“

Estonia’s 105th Independence Day parade. Photo: Estonian Defence Forces

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