Riisalo Makes First Official Visit to Ukraine

Executive Director of the Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV), Tiit Riisalo, and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jonatan Vseviov, are on the ground in Ukraine this week, reaffirming Estonia’s unwavering support and ready to discuss further steps towards Ukraine’s victory and repairing the ravages of war.

“Ukraine is the top priority for Estonia’s development cooperation. We are the first country to rebuild Ukraine’s homeland. As trailblazers, we want to prove that reconstruction is possible and necessary today. The construction of the kindergarten, conducted by ESTDEV and our partners, will give Ukrainians the much-needed promise that children, the future of their country, are safe, and their childhood and education can continue,” Tiit Riisalo, Executive Director of ESTDEV, said.

Tiit Riisalo, Kaimo Kuusk, Jonatan Vseviov

Estonia’s rebuilding activities in Ukraine are, at present, focused on the Zhytomyr region. Riisalo explained, “After completing the kindergarten, we are ready to scale up in other parts of Ukraine, but this can only be done with the cooperation of other countries.”

Priorities covered during this visit will be Estonia’s support toward Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, as well as Ukraine’s security and its path to NATO. Estonia is committed to continuing Russia’s international isolation and ensuring Russia’s legal responsibility for the crimes committed in Ukraine.

“Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine has continued for nearly a year now. Throughout this time, Estonia has consistently demonstrated, in words, actions, and presence, that we are standing behind Ukraine and doing everything we can to help restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. This is essential for peace and security all over Europe,” Jonatan Vseviov, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.

Since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Estonia has sent more than 20 million euros in humanitarian assistance, over 255 million euros in military aid, and has proudly contributed 17.8 million euros collected from private donations to help Ukraine win the war. In addition, Estonia has contributed a total of 7.9 million euros through development cooperation projects in order to support the reconstruction of the Ukrainian state and society.

In 2022, Ukraine has the largest share of Estonia’s development cooperation portfolio.

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ESTDEV is a state foundation that organises and coordinates Estonia’s participation in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid programs, with the aim of increasing Estonia’s contribution to global security and sustainable development