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"Murnaghan Interview with Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia", Sky News

Dermot Murnaghan
© Sky News


DERMOT MURNAGHAN: I'm glad to say we can talk more about Estonia and its fears about Russian expansionism, Estonia's President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves joins me now. Mr President, very good to talk to you, just tell me about Estonia's fears about Russia's actions in Ukraine.

TOOMAS HENDRIK ILVES: Well you are attributing fears to me, I don't have fears.

DM: You have no fears at all that if Russia gets what it wants in Ukraine then that could have an impact on the Baltic States, you are completely relaxed?

TOOMAS HENDRIK ILVES: No, I didn't say that but I think that it is false to say, to ask immediately about our fears. We notice that the security environment around the entire Baltic sea space has dramatically changed in the past year, we see all kinds of air incursions, we see submarines in Sweden, we see mock bombing raids against Sweden and Denmark last year, we see military planes flying in civilian air space with their transponders turned off, leading to some near disasters. So it is behaviour, we don't have to jump right ahead to being afraid of being invaded, that's far ahead of what we are concerned about today which is reckless and irresponsible behaviour throughout our region.

DM: So given that, Mr President, how important is it that a continuing firm line and perhaps a firmer line be taken in Ukraine?

TOOMAS HENDRIK ILVES: Well we certainly think that if you appease right now in Ukraine then we know from history that appeasement will never satisfy those that are being appeased, Munich '38 I think should be a lesson to all of us even today.

DM: But of course Estonia and others has the comfort, is it a comfort, of being part of NATO, an attack on one country is an attack on them all.

TOOMAS HENDRIK ILVES: Well that's one reason why we first of all worked very hard to qualify for membership and why we, along with the UK and another one or two countries, are the only ones in NATO in Europe that fulfil the 2% of defence expenditure.

DM: Well President Ilves, thank you very much indeed for joining us live from that security conference in Munich and there are other broadcasters there, as you can hear. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia there.

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