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Estonia’s premier urges NATO members to ramp up defense spending


Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas warned that certain members of the NATO alliance are not taking their defense targets seriously enough, urging them to spend more to ward off any potential threats, according to Bloomberg.

Speaking during a visit to Singapore, Kallas said that she was “very sad” some member nations think they can postpone an investment pledge to spend a minimum 2% of gross domestic product on defense by next year. She supports lifting the floor to 2.5% of GDP to achieve a security posture that wouldn’t only serve as an appropriate deterrence, but also demonstrate NATO’s commitment to the US ahead of divisive presidential election in 2024.

“Not all countries take this seriously enough,” she said during an interview on the sidelines of a tech conference in the city-state. “It is very important for the European defense still to show to the Americans that we are doing everything because who knows what happens after the presidential elections.”

She joins a chorus of voices in Europe increasingly concerned over the need to address defense supply shortages as they continue to fuel the Ukrainian side of a war that is showing no signs of easing. Both Moscow and Kyiv are reporting widespread fighting along the front lines as anticipation mounts for Kyiv’s long-planned counteroffensive. 

Ukraine on Tuesday accused Russian forces of blowing up a giant dam in the south, unleashing a torrent of floodwater, threatening residents and complicating the battle.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview in Oslo this month that allies need to sign more contracts with defense companies to boost production given their ammunition stocks are running dry. The alliance may agree as soon as this summer to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense, a slight shift from a 10-year-old pledge to “move toward the 2% guideline.”