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Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas Celebrates Victory Day in Narva, Honors Estonia’s Resilience

“Freedom is not merely a gift fallen from heaven. You have to work consistently and tirelessly to maintain it.” - Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas

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Narva, June 23, 2024 – On the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Võnnu, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas addressed the nation in a stirring speech at Garnison Cemetery, in Narva, where she emphasized the enduring spirit of the Estonian people and the ongoing need for solidarity in the face of global challenges.

“Today, we celebrate Victory Day, the 105th anniversary of the successful Battle of Võnnu. We also commemorate all those who fell in the fight for our freedom and have found their final resting place in Garnison Cemetery or elsewhere,” Kallas began, setting a solemn and respectful tone for the event.

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Kallas highlighted the symbolic significance of Narva, noting, “This is the place where the beginning and the end of the war symbolically meet: here, under Narva, the first battles broke out in 1918, and here, in 1919, the last attempts of the Red Army to invade failed.”

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Reflecting on Estonia’s repeated struggles for independence, Kallas remarked, “It became clear that freedom is not merely a gift fallen from heaven. You have to work consistently and tirelessly to maintain it.” She drew a poignant parallel to current global tensions, implicitly referencing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, asking, “What kind of terrible country attacks another state? What can we do to end this horrible situation and avoid it repeating again in the future?”

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The Prime Minister firmly stated Estonia’s stance on Ukraine, declaring, “Ukraine will not be helped by a lukewarm truce, but by a victory. We need to help Ukraine withstand this difficult year.” She invoked historical resilience, reminding the audience of Estonia’s own War of Independence, which despite a rocky start, ended in triumph.

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Kallas also praised the solidarity and support within Estonia, saying, “We are fortunate to live in a country that is safe and secure in the midst of general uncertainty. We have strong friends and allies. We work hard every day to keep it that way.” She expressed gratitude to those contributing to the nation’s defense, including volunteers, reservists, active-duty personnel, employers, and families, acknowledging their invaluable support.

Kallas quoted former President Lennart Meri: “The Republic of Estonia is everywhere where Estonian citizens live. By working towards a common goal, we are invincible.”

Editor: Gabriel Ani

 

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