Urmas Reinsalu says European nations should double defence expenditure

European nations should double their defense expenditures because of Russia’s war on Ukraine, Estonia’s foreign minister has said. He also stated that Russia had plans to increase national defence spending to 3% GDP.

During a visit to Kyiv, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said this visit was meant to show support for Kyiv in its struggle with power outages after a wave if drone and missile attacks by Russia. Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

He said that European countries should double their defense expenditures during and after the conflict in Ukraine. “We are going to spend 3% on our national defence,” he said.

Last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that some members of the military alliance, including Estonia, might decide to spend more defense than the current target of 2%.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, many NATO allies have increased their military expenditures.

Ukraine, although not a NATO member, has applied to join. Since Russian increased its missile attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, it has been increasingly asking for Western support.

Reinsalu stated that the 27-nation European Union (which includes Estonia) should increase its funding for military support to Ukraine.

He stated that the European Union has contributed 0.2% of its GDP together to military aid to Ukraine. “I made a promise to make a difference on the ground and change the course of war by pledging to reach 1%,” he added.

Denys Shmyhal, the Ukrainian Prime Minister, wrote on Twitter that Reinsalu’s Monday trip with six other ministers included discussions about tightening EU sanctions and rebuilding Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. He also mentioned financial support and Ukraine’s “Euro-Atlantic aspirations.”