25th Mar 2023


Estonia did try to warn you

  • Eerik-Niiles Kross, campaigning for election as mayor of Tallinn in 2013
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Over 70 percent of Ukrainians believe that they will win the war. Russia has, in less than a week, already lost one-third as many men as they lost in Afghanistan over the entire decade of their war there. Think about it, and feel for the mothers.

And it is no exaggeration to say that Nato and the EU have attained an unprecedented sense of unity, energy and purpose. In each European country, whole populations have rallied to raise help for Ukraine. People from all walks of life – from doctors and lawyers to hackers and businessmen – have volunteered to help in all manner of issues.

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  • An Interpol order for the arrest of the author, Kross, from 2013 - requested by Russia (Photo:

The east European nations, generally less than eager to accept refugees, have opened their borders and hearts to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The European Union is buying fighter planes for Ukraine to wage war with – an idea that would have been discarded as completely preposterous, just days previously.

Weapons aid is flowing towards the fighters. Volunteers all over Europe are expressing their wish to take up arms and go to help the nation struggling against the aggressor's attack. And European countries allow it.

Tallin was telling you this

This is the kind of war that occupied Estonia hoped for, in 1945 and for years after that, until almost all hope was lost.

It was hoped for when Russia came to "liberate" us - like it now claims to "liberate" Ukraine.

It is a war where Western democracies at long last do rise to the defence of justice, freedom and their values. All the nations to the east of the River Oder suddenly feel as if a burden has been lifted from our shoulders.

"Now, finally they will understand us," we Estonians feel. Now we no longer need to explain - shamefacedly - that perhaps, indeed , a grave peril does in fact issue from Moscow.

Now we no longer need to explain that we did not "harm" Russia by restoring our independence in 1991. That we don't need to be grateful for it, because it is our right, and unfreedom was injustice.

Those who declared that "they would never come to our help," that "we were alone," "we had no one to rely on," were wrong. They had either been taken in by the false sweet-talk of The Lord of the Rings' Sauron, were frightened by its threats or greedy for its money.

All at once, Europe proved that when the situation was dire, freedom and values would indeed outweigh everything else.

Suddenly investment bankers say they don't care a jot about losses on the Russian exchange. Indeed, the best investment is pumping money into arming Ukraine.

The profit this investment returns is negative, in monetary sense, but immeasurably more valuable. Because it is freedom. Even such corporations as had been considered the greediest of them all have, with proud nonchalance, written off investments worth billions.

At the cost of Ukraine's suffering and thanks to Ukraine's heroism, the world has all of a sudden shaken off a monstrous duplicity.

The lies that were swept under the carpet after World War II, the lies that were swept under the carpet after the collapse of the Soviet Union, are now revealed and naked. And divested of their power to anguish.

Truth indeed does liberate. And even though a savage war continues and there are grim battles still ahead, today the Ukrainians, like all the rest of us, find it easier to breathe.

Author bio

Eerik-Niiles Kross is an Estonian MP, a member of the parliament's foreign affairs committee, and ex-national coordinator of Estonia's intelligence services.


The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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