Karl Altau, JBANC
For Estonians, February 24 marks a day of celebration on the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of independence (Manifest Eestimaa rahvastele). This year, Estonia marks its 105th birthday. Freedom can never be taken for granted. Particularly during this time.
This is especially tangible considering it being the first anniversary of Russia’s massive new invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year.
Russia’s invasion remains not just an existential threat to Ukraine’s freedom, but for the security of Ukraine’s friends, allies, and partners. The instability Russia creates by both its destructive conventional and hybrid warfare in its genocidal crusade against Ukraine, is a danger for United States security, as we are linked into Europe’s security and stability. Obviously, the threat is even more palpable for Estonia, and other countries in the nearby Baltic region and wider Europe that have been supporting Ukraine. We see these threats increasing this week against Moldova, sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, and in the continuing attempts at destabilization of the Republic of Georgia. Russia itself suffers from the wanton abuses of a government which increasingly restricts the actions of its own citizens and sends tens of thousands of conscripts into the meatgrinder for no reason.
Ukraine’s victory is utterly necessary. Russia must be defeated. And it must be defeated now.
As Audrone Plepyte, Lithuania’s Ambassador to the U.S., stated on February 15 at her country’s reception on the Day of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania: this is a war “that we cannot afford to lose.”