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Russia not critically weakened by war so far, Estonian minister says

Estonia's Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur does not believe that Russia has been critically weakened even after nine months of war in Ukraine.

Estonia‘s Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur does not believe that Russia has been critically weakened even after nine months of war in Ukraine.

“We have to be honest and clear: The Russian navy and air force are more or less as big as they were before the war,” Pevkur told dpa during a visit to Berlin.

Although the Russian land forces had lost considerable strength, they would “sooner rather than later” have the size they had before February 24 when they launched their offensive – or even larger.

Russia will also learn from their military experience in Ukraine, he argued: “We have no reason to believe that the threat from Russia is somehow reduced or that the threat to NATO is reduced.”

Estonia plans to spend 2.84% of its gross domestic product on defence next year, according to the minister.

In 2024, the amount is to rise to 3.2% – far above the general NATO target of 2%.

About 1% of its own gross domestic product had already been given to support Ukraine’s military, he said.

Pevkur warned against “war weariness” on the part of Western states.

“This is exactly what Russia wants to achieve … Russia is ready to suffer longer,” he said.

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