Head vabariigi iseseisvuspäeva! Happy Estonian Independence Day!
It is one year since I stood outside the Estonian Parliament for the traditional raising of the national flag from Tall Hermann tower. Looking at the young fraternities gathered with their flags, I was very sure that Estonia too would soon be facing the aggression of the criminal Russian regime. A tragic and dark day.
5 eyes intelligence had been clear: an all out invasion was going to happen, and Putin´s goals included- and still include- "restoration" of Russian imperial power across Europe, even to the Atlantic. Yet there was one Western intelligence failure: we all underestimated the guts of the Ukrainian armed forces, the ZSU, and its President and people.
One year on, Estonia, and indeed all the front line states against Russia, knows that Ukraine saved us.
Estonia used that time to prepare itself, should that "delayed" onslaught ever be unleashed, but equally the determination of Kaja Kallas, the Estonian Prime Minister, and the whole country, is that Ukraine shall stand. Over 40,000 Ukrainian refugees are here, and per capita, Estonia leads the table of assistance given to Kyiv.
Estonia now believes that Ukraine can ultimately defeat Russia. Indeed defeat for Putin cannot be optional: the monstrous evil that has unleashed a totally unprovoked war against a peaceful (even sleepy) democratic neighbour will stop at nothing. The war has been marked by a brutality- child rape and torture and the murder of innocent civilians- that stands high in the catalogue of human crime. Yes, Putin could even overtake Hitler, Stalin or Mao as the Human race´s greatest murderer, were he to unleash his nuclear arsenal. The fact that this is even possible, is why Russia must be defeated and either restored to the ranks of civilized nations or destroyed.
Nor is it hubris to point out that the criminal regime in the Moscow Kremlin is a brittle and weak government. There are protests in Russia and an entire generation of well educated young men have walked away from Putinism. The brutality of operations in Ukraine reflects a primitive and weak system of government and a corrupt and incompetent high command. The splits between the thuggish Wagnerite, Progrozhin, the dimwitted homunculus, Kadyrov, and the bovine Putin loyalist, Shoigu, will be battle lines of a civil war as Putin´s power inevitably drains away. The return of the meat grinder has destroyed Wagner and is destroying even "elite" units that are not the poorly trained sweepings of Russian jails.
With new equipment and better training, the ZSU can return to winning ways as snow and mud gives way to the drier summer. So after the tragedy of one year ago, we look to the future with hope, thanks to the courage of Ukraine.
Glory to Ukraine, To the Heroes, Glory! Слава Україні! Героям Слава!