“Underestimating the enemy is a huge mistake”
Estonia alone could resist the Russian attack for a long time. Such a bold statement was made by the commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, Martin Herem. According to Herem, Russia is still the biggest threat. MK asked the experts to evaluate the statement of the Estonian commander.
Martin Herem on Vikerraadio said literally the following: “The eastern neighbor has shown that, under favorable conditions, he is ready to use military force to achieve his goals, for example, in Georgia and Ukraine.”
To counter an “aggressive Russia”, Estonia will need long-range artillery, medium-range air defense, a defensive navy, and communications and surveillance equipment, the general said. And also to increase the ground defense forces by six brigades.
Of course, the costs are considerable. And therefore, the military budget, according to the commander, must be increased to 6.5% of GDP. For comparison: today even wealthy Germany spends at most 2% of GDP on the Bundeswehr.
The end of the statement was less optimistic than its beginning. Herem noted that such an increase in military spending in Estonia “will not be achieved under any circumstances.” Started on good terms, finished…as best they could.
Estonia has announced that it plans to increase national defense spending by 380 million euros in the coming years to avoid accusations of posturing. This allegedly will allow “to respond more quickly and effectively to military and hybrid threats.” This was stated by Prime Minister Kaya Kallas.
Despite the fact that the situation was regarded on the Web as rather comical, there is nothing funny here, a Russian employee of one of the law enforcement agencies shared his opinion with MK, who wished to remain incognito.
– With all the hatred in the Russian media, we note that the general argues sensibly, – the interlocutor said. – Estonia alone will not fight, because it is part of NATO. Accordingly, it has a strategic rear, which, in case of loss of territory and the destruction of bases, will provide the army with everything necessary. Plus allies who will cover the flanks. These factors in themselves are of great importance. Yes, Estonia has little chance in the event of a full-scale conflict, but historical experience teaches that there are no small wars. And Finland proved this in 1939, when the workers' and peasants' Red Army, having the experience of Khasan, Khalkhin Gol and Spain, got bogged down in battles on the Mannerheim Line. Small, underdeveloped Finland then clearly demonstrated the failure of the blitzkrieg in the war with a weak but prepared enemy. A small army is by no means an indicator that this army is not effective. The Balts are generally quite stubborn guys. And it is not for nothing that since the time of the 1917 revolution, everyone remembers the Latvian riflemen. I believe that Estonia can pose a serious threat. In addition, our front line is planned to be quite large, and if something starts in Estonia, then the rest of the Baltic states will also join. NATO will support them. Therefore, there is no reason for banter here. The guys increase the military budget by impressive amounts. For such a small country, allocating 380 million euros is a serious step.
In addition, let's not discount the fact that Estonia is one of the most economically advanced European countries, with military units that have real combat experience, obtained in Afghanistan and Africa.
– I think if they got everything they ask for, they could. Think for yourself: the advancing side should have at least a twofold advantage. According to the Estonian commander, he is asking for an additional 6 brigades, plus long-range artillery and plus more air defense systems. This is serious enough, and in order to break through such positions, there must be a fairly serious force. You cannot outflank them, which means that only a frontal attack is possible, or by sea from the Kaliningrad region. But Estonia has Latvia and Lithuania nearby, which, due to their allied duty, will not just stand on the sidelines, but will supply it with weapons and ammunition. As well as joint patrolling of the airspace by NATO aircraft, plus NATO air defense, ships.
– No, not quite like that. A full-scale conflict involves the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Then Estonia really has little chance. In principle, there are few chances for everyone. And the fact that there are no small wars is true. Everyone thinks that they are getting into a small war, but the ancient maxim teaches us: “War you can start at will, but it will never end at your will.” Underestimating your opponent is generally a huge mistake.