Estonian Army servicemen might go to Ukraine. EPA-EFE/VALDA KALNINA


‘Sending troops to Ukraine logical,’ Estonian top security advisor says


Madis Roll, Security Policy Advisor to the Estonian President Alar Karis, said that although his country was not planning on sending troops to Ukraine, it would be “practically and militarily logical” to do so.

Speaking to Brussels Signal on May 14, Roll nuanced claims made in other publications that Estonia was looking at sending soldiers east.

“I have not said that the Estonian Government is currently in the process of deciding whether to send our troops to Ukraine,” he said.

“My message is that Estonia has not ruled out anything when helping Ukraine; all options are still under discussion.”

Roll echoed statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron, arguing that Western countries should not be artificially limiting the level of support it was willing to provide to Kyiv.

“Neither we nor our allies should have any restrictions on helping Ukraine, because setting limits on our assistance would only help Russia continue its aggression,” he argued.

“Therefore, it is understandable that we analyse all different scenarios.

“The most urgent issues on the Government’s agenda at the moment are the continuation and expansion of international support to help Ukraine, armaments, ammunition and training for Ukrainian troops, as well as Russia’s continued political and economic isolation.

“However, this is not a closed list, as other options may become possible in the future,” Roll continued.

“I believe that, at the conceptual level, sending units to Ukraine to perform supporting tasks is practically and militarily logical, as it would free up Ukrainian soldiers for front-line tasks. Also, all these discussions and decisions should be co-ordinated with allies.”

Other media had claimed the Estonia Government was “seriously” discussing the deployment of Estonian troops in non-combat capacities in Ukraine, based on an interview with Roll published on May 13.

On May 14, though, Martin Herem, Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, said that there had been discussions within the military about sending troops to Western Ukraine.

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said on May 9 that she had parliamentary permission to send Lithuanian soldiers to Ukraine for training purposes if Kyiv asked her to do so.

Šimonytė is one of a small but growing number of European leaders to give cautious support to French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion on February 27 that Europe might send troops east.

Poland has also been supportive of the idea.

Other countries, though, strongly oppose sending soldiers to Ukraine, even for so-called “rear jobs”. Italy, Germany, the UK and the US are the most vocal opponents.

Despite that, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had hinted in late February that British and French soldiers were helping Ukraine in operating cruise missiles.